The GP Stories you almost missed – Appointments, Practice Closures, Prescribing, GP Recruitment
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.
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