If a government runs down the funding, increases the administration burden, and restricts the scope and variety of a job, then it becomes less popular. To do this to a self-employed professional GP of many years experience is to drive him to early retirement. A younger doctor simply shrugs, disengages, and is willing to be salaried. We are falling behind other countries in many areas by comparison with other systems, but the golden calf of “free at the point of access” cannot be challenged, and the GPs in Edinburgh have made an illegal suggestion. What a mess… It is politicians who have to change the rules of the game…
Hundreds of GP practices across London could display a short film in their waiting room to raise awareness among patients of the crisis facing the profession.
A film put together as part of Londonwide LMCs’ GP State of Emergency campaign urges patients to engage with their practice’s patient group and to challenge local councillors and MPs to support general practice.
Three suppliers of waiting room screens in London have agreed to make the film available in the ‘menu’ of options practices can choose to display, allowing hundreds of practices across the capital to show patients how much pressure they are under.
GP State of Emergency film:
Londonwide LMCs chief executive Dr Michelle Drage said: ‘Patients are very aware of the symptoms of the pressures on practices – extended waiting times, rushed GPs and withdrawn services, but not so aware of the underlying causes, workforce shortages and squeezed funding.
‘Our video provides some simple, factual background to these issues and suggests patients speak to their practice team about the challenges they face and how then to raise these issues with their elected representatives. With patients onboard, practices have a much stronger voice.’
Dr Drage said that although GPs may be daunted by the prospect of begining conversations with patients about pressure on the service, ‘most are very receptive to hearing about the pressures on their practice’. Patients are often surprised to hear that in London general practice delivers unlimited care for £136 per patient per year, she added.
‘Over the last year, I and other Londonwide LMCs’ GPs have met with MPs and London Assembly Members from Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats at practices in their constituencies.
‘These meetings have all been positive and resulted in issues such as Capita, premises and workforce being raised with the health secretary and DH. If we can get patients to join us in making the case for their own practices these messages will be greatly amplified.’
Waiting room screen suppliers Egton, Numed and NoticeboardTV have agreed to make the film available on their systems, and talks are underway with other providers.