The GP Stories you almost missed – 7 day access, CQC inspections, 4 year GP training, The Real Peak Practice
Jeremy Hunt has called for all GP Practices to ensure their patients can access a 7 day service by 2020, even if they don’t provide the care directly themselves. Responding to a petition calling for a vote of no confidence in him, the health secretary said that doctors would realise 7 day access was “the right thing to do”. At the debate, which was amended to discuss contracts and conditions in the NHS, GPs were told they need to be ‘more flexible’ with regards 7 day access. Meanwhile, one of the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund 7 day access pilots has been delayed owing to the length of time needed for CCG registration. NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG planned to start the pilot in July but it is now expected that early morning and evening appointments will be phased in with most areas covered by late October.
The CQC has announced a change to the way it operates with aims to work ‘in partnership’ with healthcare providers and a ‘lighter touch’ approach. This follows a practice in Bristol which has successfully challenged the ‘needs improvement’ rating it received after its CQC inspection. The regulator admitted ‘due process’ had not been followed and the practice was rated ‘good’ on re-inspection.
A pilot scheme in London will provide careers advice to long-term unemployed patients in a bid to help them overcome health-related barriers to work. The ‘Working Better’ scheme launched at the beginning of September and is a joint venture between Islington Council, Jobcentre Plus and NHS Islington CCG. NHS England has also announced plans for firefighters to carry out basic health checks when visiting people’s homes to carry out safety checks. Pilot schemes will be run in Manchester, Staffordshire and Gloucestershire to test whether falls, broken hips and hospital admissions can be reduced.
London GPs are struggling to cope with demand and cite cuts to community staff, social services, mental health services and both an aging and increasing population as causes for the crisis. There are also 140 practices at risk of closure over the next three years.
Plans to extend GP training to 4 years are in doubt after comments made by Jeremy Hunt at a recent health committee meeting. The health secretary said that four year training would make it more difficult to meet the target of an extra 5,000 GPs by 2020. Meanwhile, the RCGP has called for training places in Northern Ireland to be nearly doubled from 65 to 111 as part of a range of measures it wants the Northern Ireland Government to examine.
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