Two-thirds of GP appointments ‘don’t need a doctor’
12 April 2016
By Hiba Mahamadi
Only one in three people visiting a GP should be seen by a doctor, a move which could lead to practices offering 20-minute appointments, according to a think-tank.
The report, by the Reform think-tank, found that half of patients that are currently seen by GPs could be seen by other clinical staff.
It also claimed that there was growing appetite for seven-day routine GP services – a claim disputed by GPs.
Reform said that the current model of general practice was ‘out of date’, and called for bigger practices, which it said could help stop ‘millions of unnecessary A&E visits’.
Why Hunt’s pre-election promise of 5,000 new GPs is a long way off
The report’s author concluded that the Government’s pledge to increase the workforce by 5,000 GPs by 2020 was ‘nothing more than a sticking plaster’.
The findings were based on a roundtable held with 22 GPs and other stakeholders.
The report said that GPs currently take around two-thirds of the 372 million appointments at GP surgeries every year – two-thirds of all appointments in practices.
Experts who were interviewed claimed that half of these can be taken on by other staff, including nurses, which they estimate would save over £700m a year and would allow GPs to offer 20 minutes appointments.
The report said: ‘General practice is out of date.
The model, built for 1948, must address the ever-more complex needs of a growing, ageing and more technologically sophisticated population.
It cannot do so in its current state, which affects outcomes for patients and puts significant cost pressures on the system as a whole.’
The authors praised new super-practices, arguing that the ‘quality of GP care increases in line with the size of practices’, citing CQC reports.
They also claimed that weekend routine appointments were becoming more popular, citing figures that suggested Taurus Healthcare, a federation serving 185,000 patients in Herefordshire, were filling a higher proportion of weekend appointments.
Alex Hitchcock, report co-author, said: ‘Employing 5,000 more GPs is nothing more than a sticking plaster for an out-of-date model.
Bigger practices and new technology can deliver better access and stop millions of unnecessary A&E visits.’
The RCGP disputed the claims made around seven-day services.
Dr Maureen Baker, RCGP chair, said:
‘This support for seven-day general practice services flies in the face of our own research – and the fact that a number of surgeries that have piloted seven-day working have had to scale-down services due to a lack of patient demand at weekends.‘
Access to general practice services is undoubtedly important, but patients recognise that prioritising weekend and evening access must not come at the expense of access and services during normal hours.
They have better things to do on a Sunday afternoon than have their ears syringed.’
Who is going to decide which is the 3rd one who needs seeing GP.
Who will take responsibility to make sure other 2 are not going to die?
Oh let the GP decide about other 2 as well and then see the 3rd one as well.
On similar note, only 1 out of 10 A&E attendance needs seeing A&E doctor.
However has any A&E clinician has guts to kick out other 9.
And the think tank must have enjoyed numerous tea parties in hotels to come to this obvious.
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