Posts Tagged “gp recruitment”

The Government’s flagship 7 day access policy is in the news once again with a mixed response as to its efficacy. Official evaluation showed that A&E admissions were reduced by 3% and said the scheme was set to be extended. However, CCG leaders in Yorkshire have scrapped the pilot scheme citing poor take-up of weekend appointments as one of the main reasons for abandoning the scheme. A joint report by the Patients Association and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine has found that same-day GP appointments do not stop patients from choosing to attend A&E instead. Meanwhile, according to research by the financial regulator for the NHS in England, a third of patients find it difficult to get an appointment. Although a smaller YouGov poll found apparent public support for 7 day access.

One of the biggest stories this month was Jeremy Hunt’s ‘New Deal’ for GP which has prompted a backlash from GPs and a petition with nearly 3000 signatures. Remarkably, Mr Hunt has also called for GPs to move away from the mentality of clocking off at 7pm.

Staffing in General Practice is still a cause for concern with promises of 5,000 more GPs and 5,000 support staff including 1,000 physician associates by 2020. Although the Government has since distanced itself from the pledge for 5,000 extra GPs. In Leicester, the CCG is spending £600,000 to bring over 10 US-trained Physician Associates to work in local practices. Recruiters have said more foreign GPs are essential in order to meet this target. Whilst regulations were changed this year to allow GP training applicants who failed the Stage 2 exam in the first round to re-apply in the second round. The Welsh Government is investing £34million into GP recruitment whilst the Scottish Government has announced that a new £50million fund for GP recruitment and retention is to be spread over 3 years, replacing a one year £40million fund.

Also in the news has been practice closures. One doctor explains why she and her colleague were forced to resign from their practice after a replacement for the retiring partners could not be found. A practice in Brighton was closed with no warning, following a CQC inspection, leaving nearly 10,000 patients to use local walk-in facilities. The entire patient list was subsequently transfered to one neighbouring practice. In Essex, a third sector provider has been commissioned by NHS ENgland to take on an APMS contract for 12 months after all partners at the GP practice resigned. Meanwhile a practice in London has been saved from closure by local campaigners who persuaded NHS England to use locums to keep the practice open whilst looking for a new provider to run the practice. Jeremy Hunt has agreed to shadow a GP at a practice in Tower Hamlets, but Limehouse Practice is facing a funding crisis and may close before he gets there.

The RCGP has called for an immediate halt to CQC inspections as it emerges that nearly half of GP practices spend more than 20 staff hours to prepare for them.

A pilot scheme in Glasgow is to offer 30 minute appointments to its most vulnerable patients with researchers from the University of Glasgow measuring the impact on hospital admissions.

The Government’s flagship 7 day access pilot looks set to be abandoned by CCGs after NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCG found Saturday morning opening did not help local A&Es meet the four-hour target. Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the RCGP, has described plans for 7 day access to GP surgeries as “coming from cloud cuckoo land”. The Chair of the BMA’s GP Committee, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, has also called on the Prime Minister to “jettison the political pipedreams of tomorrow”.

The Northern Irish Government is concerned about GP numbers with too few graduates entering GP training and only 33 trainees qualifying in 2014. Data released by the GMC shows that ‘elite’ university students shun general practice with only 16% of Oxford graduates applying for GP Entry. Researchers have found that the amount of time undergraduates spend in general practice has fallen by almost two weeks between 2002 and 2012.

A single-handed GP in London is suing NHS England after they terminated his contract despite loyal patients’ calls for the surgery to be re-opened. The practice’s 3,700 patients have been forced to register at other local practices at great inconvenience. In Derbyshire, a local hospital has stepped in after the closure of group of practices serving 27,000 patients. Another GP who has managed a 4,500 patient list for two years on his own, owing to problems recruiting a partner, has been hit with a breach of contract notice after going off sick from burnout. In the East of England, NHS managers are to identify practices at risk of closure owing to problems with finances, recruitment issues, sickness absences and applications for list closures. It is hoped that NHS England, working with LMCs, can offer support to practices and prevent closures. Over the past two years, 160,000 patients have been displaced by practice closures.

GPs working part-time have spoken out about how intense and draining the workload is and warned that GPs are ‘all out’. Whilst a report from Citizens Advice has found that GPs are spending nearly a fifth of their consultation time dealing with non-medical issues at a cost of nearly £400m.

One village surgery has hit the jackpot after a local businessman donated £1million to pay for new, purpose-built premises to prevent the practice closing.

A survey of GPs by the BMA has found that more than 90% of GPs think that 10-minute consultations are inadequate. With politicians focusing on access, analysis by the BMJ has shown that the benefits of GP access policies is unclear. Incentives were given for practices to open over Easter, OOH providers struggled to cover shifts whilst practices themselves saw a few as three patients during a 3 hour surgery on Easter Saturday. For more articles on GP access, visit this blog. Meanwhile, research by Exeter Medical School has found that patients rate Private GP OOH care worse than NHS or not-for-profit services.

In an attempt to fill vacancies, a new CCG recruitment initiative is trying to attract Dutch GPs. In Scotland, one practice has had to redraw its boundaries and cut its patient list by a quarter after two unsuccessful rounds of recruitment. New GMC Chair, Professor Terence Stephenson, has called for a nationwide GP counselling service to be rolled out.

Despite recent calls for more on-site pharmacies in GP surgeries, a study a shown that pharmacist-led management of chronic pain is more expensive than standard treatment by GPs. Whilst there is a growing list of conditions and treatments not funded by the NHS, 30 CCGs may face a legal threat for funding homeopathy. Whilst a new trend has seen the costs of indemnity cover shoot up with one GP quoted £30,000 for their annual premium.

Many GPs and healthcare professionals are frustrated that politicians don’t understand the NHS, and General Practice in particular and would welcome an alternative health manifesto.

Usually when you read about general practice and performance, you might be thinking about targets and referrals but one practice in Devon are putting on a ‘Loyal Variety Performance‘ in their waiting room in a concert starring doctors, patients and receptionists.

 

Pharmacies are still in the news with worries that the closure of small pharmacies, particularly those in isolated communities, will increase pressure on GPs and A&E. Research shows that GPs prescribed 1.1billion items for patients in 2014, including a wide variety of over-the-counter medicines such as Lemsip and Calpol. Presciptions were also issued for unmedicated products such as toothpaste and suncream.

With more than half of GPs expecting to leave General Practice before the age of 60, NHS England is urging British GPs working abroad to return to the UK. Practices are also to be given incentives to take on GP Returners with an annual grant of £8,000. Incentives are also being offered to GPs to delay their retirement in an attempt to bolster GP numbers.

Golden Hellos are being used more frequently to attract GPs to practices finding it hard to fill posts. Groby Road Practice in Leicester filled a post that had been vacant for two years thanks to the scheme. The RAF is also aiming to recruit GPs and offers a signing bonus of £50,000. Hospitals are also after GPs to help them deliver new models of primary care with some offering salaries of up to £100,000.

Applications to GP Training are down by 6% this year and a third of vacancies remain unfilled after the first round of recruitment. The RCGP has released a video aimed at medical students to promote general practice and increase applications, however, GP leaders have said that students are being told by Medical School Deans that GP is a ‘second-class’ career option.

Despite the everyday pressures of General Practice, for many doctors, it still affords the best chance of a good work life balance.  An innovative campaign started by East Cumbria GP Training Programme #GreatBritishConsultations shows the beauty and benefits of rural GP life.