Posts Tagged “physician associates”

The Chief Executive of NHS England has said that 7 day access is needed to reduce health inequalities as the current system discriminates against low-paid workers who cannot get time off for mid-week appointments without losing pay. Meanwhile GPC Chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul has said he is happy to discuss extending access as part of GP contract negotiations but will not agree to 7 day access. Conservative MP and former GP Dr Sarah Wollaston has said that 7 day access is ‘completely unrealistic’ whilst the RCGP has claimed that 7 day access could cost £1bn a year.

Physician Associate trainees will be guaranteed jobs at the end of their training under a trial proposed for mid-Wales. Official figures have revealed that Salaried GPs earn less than 10% more than Physican Associates with GPs earning on average £54,600 a year versus £50,000 for Physician Associates with two or more years experience. Labour MSP, Elaine Murray has said that scientists should be able to retrain as GPs via shortcut courses to help ease the GP recruitment crisis.

Figures have shown that practices’ use of Locum GPs has increased by nearly 20% over the last year with many GPs choosing to work as ‘career locums’ or supplementing their income via locuming.

The RCGP has called for A&E funding to be redirected to General Practice whilst 5 practices at risk of closure are looking to merge with local hospitals to secure their future. Practices in Wales are able to apply for support from the Welsh Government under a new scheme to help vulnerable practices at risk of closure. Meanwhile, practices in the south-west can access a sustainability assessment developed by the regional team to help them look at ways to increase efficiency and succession planning.

The Family Doctor Association (FDA) has found that indemnity fees for GPs have increased by a quarter in one year.  The BMA has hosted a summit to discuss the issue with NHS England making it a priority.

Another super-sized practice is set to be created in the East Midlands when 4 local practices merge with an existing large practice in the new year. The resulting practice will have a patient list of 100,000 cared for by 62 partners. The practice has further expansion plans to eventually care for around 300,000 patients.

The NHS Confederation has published a Primary Care myth buster to raise awareness that GPs already offer 7 day access. The move comes amid calls from academics for the Government to put a halt to 7 day access plans as research has not conclusively shown that 7 day access will reduce A& E admissions. Meanwhile, a small GP-led pilot scheme in Cornwall has reduced emergency admissions by 34% in a high-risk group of patients with two or more long-term conditions.

NICE has backtracked on its claim that 10million prescriptions for antibiotics every year are inappropriately prescribed.  The figure was apparently based on ‘the far end of plausability’ of an estimate made by a single expert adviser.

The CQC is to make changes to the way it carries out practice inspections in order to improve the relationship between practices and inspectors. A named lead inspector for each CCG area will carry out the majority of inspections with visits spread throughout the year rather than during a 4 week window.

An error by NHS England has left 30 GP trainees in the Thames Valley and 14 in the West Midlands suspended from seeing patients for up to 3 weeks because they were not included on the performers list.

A survey of practice managers has found that 57% have applied for new jobs and many want to leave General Practice citing bureaucracy, poor pay, and a lack of training and opportunities for progression as reasons to look for management jobs in other sectors. Meanwhile, figures from the GMC show that on average, between 2008 and 2014, 2,852 certificates were issued to doctors enabling them to work abroad. Worryingly, it seems that the doctors most likely to leave are young, newly or recently qualified and without family or financial ties to the UK.

The NHS is seeking to recruit 200 US trained physician associates to four regions in the UK offering £50,000 for a 48 hour working week. The positions are for two years by which time, the first UK trained physician associates should be qualified.

Meanwhile, there are hopes that GPs will be amongst the groups to benefit from an increase on the expected pay rise of 1%. Groups with recruitment and retention issues may receive more than 1% according to the Treasury.

NHS England has announced plans for an emergency GP support framework comprised of 21 providers who will be pre-contracted to step in and take over the running of struggling practices at short notice. Amongst the providers 10 are GP-led organisations, there are also 2 NHS foundation trusts, small private companies and social enterprises as well as Virgin Care.

A survey has revealed that fewer than 30% of GPs would hire Physician Associates, with 40% ruling out employing them altogether. This will come as a blow to the Government whose ‘New Deal’ promised 1000 Physican Associates to be working in general practice by 2020. A recent advert for a Community Physician working across GP practices in Shropshire as part of the Government’s Challenge Fund seven-day GP access pilot provoked a backlash as it appeared to invite FY2 doctors to apply and work as an ‘unqualified GP’.

Part of the £1bn fund pledged towards improving GP premises over four years is to be used by NHS England to run the second phase of GP Access pilots. The news come after the fund has also been relieved of £10m to support struggling practices (part of the flagship ‘New Deal’ policy) and £15m to employ pharmacists in practicesUnrealistic expectations from patients and inappropriately booked appointments are adding to GPs workload, according to one GP, who has been asked to prescribe glasses, new shoes and ‘energy boosting medication’.

The health secretary has claimed that he has never met a doctor not in favour of 7 day working. However, he was subsequently challenged by Dr Emon Farrah Malik who told him he was ‘driving GPs out of the country’. Meanwhile, an anaesthetic trainee has started a twitter campaign highlighting that the NHS does run a 7 day service with the #ImInWorkJeremy hashtag. Simon Stevens, head of NHS England, has said that practices should not be forced to open on weekends if there is no demand for appointments.

GP Trainees in Wales are to be employed by the Government throughout their training in a move to encourage more doctors to enter GP Training. A pilot scheme was launched in April 2014 and the changes are set to be implemented as soon as possible. Newly qualified Welsh doctors choosing a career in General Practice will also have their medical school fees reimbursed as part of £4.5m of funding for primary care. Half of GP training places remain unfilled in some areas with a third round of recruitment to follow this year, this is the second year that a third recruitment round has been required. The RCGP has announced that it may allow some trainees to have a fifth attempt at the AKT or CSA in exceptional circumstances and provided candidates had ‘undertaken appropriate additional educational experience’.

Student nurses in Solihull are being offered placements in General Practice in order to generate more interest in the career. Six second-year students are being trained at six local practices to give them an insight into practice nursing and tackle the shortage of practice based nurses.

The controversial CQC inspections have proved beneficial for some practices rated outstanding who used the process as an opportunity to reassess ways of working, identifying weaknesses and ensuring information provided is up-to-date.

Data from the GP Patient Survey has found that just over a quarter of patients in England were unable to see a GP or waited a week or more to see or speak to someone last time they tried. The survery comes amid news that a quarter of 7 day GP access pilots have cut their opening hours owing to lack of demand.

According to a survery carried out by Londonwide LMCs, 1 in ten London practices face closure within the next three years. Various factors were cited as reasons practices were considering closure, including workforce retirement and difficulties recruiting new staff. One GP explained the difficulties her practice faced and the reasons behind the decision she and her colleagues made to quit.  Other GPs at the Limehouse Practice were visited by health minister Alisdair Burt, in a hastily arranged visit after reports that a proposed visit by Jeremy Hunt might not take place until after the practice is forced to close later this year. In Scotland, one area has warned that any unexpected illness or leave amongst GPs could lead to practice closures, as 11 full-time posts have been vacant for between three months and two years and a further 14 GPs plan to retire by December 2016.

The Head of NHS England, Simon Stevens, has annouced that the practice-list based model of general practice could be replaced in future. Another GP has suggested practices receive payments based on numbers of consultations in order to relieve the financial pressures they face.

It has transpired that the £7.5m promised by the Government to support community pharmacists will actually be used to give them access to summary care records – a policy originally announced in 2013. As part of the drive to recruit 1000 Physician Associates by 2020, the Government is considering granting them prescribing powers to relieve the pressure on GPs. The NHS is offering £15m to practices who take part in a pilot scheme to bring pharmacists into their surgeries.

In order to save money and reduce medicine wastage, from next year, all medication costing more than £20 will have the price printed on the label. Jeremy Hunt has also said that he supports the idea of charging patients for missed GP appointments and as a first step, patients will be informed how much their missed appointment has cost the NHS.

After two rounds of GP Recruitment earlier this year, official figures show that 20% of GP Training places remain unfilled with a third round to follow later in the year.