The GP Stories you almost missed – Emergency GP Support, Physician Associates, 7 day access, GP training, Outstanding Practices
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 practices. Unrealistic 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.
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