GPs Warn Face-to-Face Appointment Plan Could Lead to Physician Exodus | GPS


GP leaders have warned that giving patients guaranteed face-to-face appointments could lead to a crippling exodus of family doctors already exhausted by the pandemic and desperate to be “pounded” by ministers.

Leading organs of the profession have said the government’s plan to force them to see in person every patient who requests it will exacerbate the already severe shortage of doctors, especially as the proposal includes “denouncing and humiliating” surgeries that do not. do not comply.

Opposition parties also adopted the government’s plan for change, with former Conservative Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt saying ministers were taking the wrong approach.

“It’s a depleted workforce that runs on empty,” he said.

The increasingly bitter war of words between general practitioners and the government escalated further when Professor Martin Marshall, president of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), condemned ministers for suggesting that family physicians are lazy, despite working long hours and increasingly heavy tasks and complex workloads.

“The last thing GPs are lazy, and that goes for the rest of our team as well,” Marshall told The Guardian.

“GPs have worked to their limits for the past 18 months, taking care of patients in the safest way possible,” he added.

He also accused ministers of spreading dangerous myths that phone or video dates are inferior to in-person interactions. “The spread story that remote consultations are inferior to those provided in person is dangerous. Face-to-face appointments will always be an essential part of general practice, but quality and safe care can also be provided remotely. “

The British Medical Association said Javid’s failure to push through the major changes he suggested to reduce the workload of GPs “will force many GPs to hang up their stethoscopes and leave the profession for the last time.” .

Dr Richard Vautrey, chairman of the BMA GP committee, told The Guardian: “This new performance management message and potential for public denunciation and shame will do little to persuade hesitant GPs to stay in the NHS, and constant criticism will do nothing to persuade new hires to choose general medicine.

“After going all out, working hourly to provide for patients for the past 20 months, delivering world-class Covid and flu vaccination programs, these latest insults will leave many wondering why they are. ‘annoy.’

Javid’s plan, that GPs in England will receive an additional £ 250million in funding if they agree to see more patients face-to-face, has been criticized by Hunt, the 2012 Health Secretary- 18.

He called the government’s proposals a poorly thought-out “sticking plaster” that would not work.

The chronic and worsening shortage of GPs meant the plan was doomed to fail, Hunt said. “As someone who has tried unsuccessfully to get 5,000 more general practitioners into the system, I don’t think this package will turn the tide,” he said. As he recruited more young doctors to train as general practitioners, that success was reversed by more older family doctors leaving part-time or dropping out altogether, he added.

Official workforce figures released by NHS Digital show that the number of full-time equivalent GPs in England fell from 29,403 in September 2015 to 28,023, a drop of 1,380. However, the total number of family physicians is increased during the same period from 36,120 to 38,792.

“This is a depleted workforce that runs on empty due to a massive mismatch between supply and demand. The only thing that will convince them not to continue to retire or go to part-time en masse is a clear plan to end the excruciating pressure they are facing, ”added Hunt.

He said Javid should instead focus on a massive recruitment drive that would include persuading retired GPs who returned to the NHS during Covid to stay. Incentives to entice doctors from overseas, especially from Canada and Australia, to come and work in Britain, are also needed.

The outburst of anger from GPs that greeted Javid’s ‘GP bailout’ prompted the Health Secretary to step down at the last minute from a scheduled appearance at the RCGP’s annual conference in Liverpool.

The BMA accused him of “being afraid to speak face to face with the profession because he knows his plan is, in fact, no plan at all.”

Opposition parties have expressed fears that even more GPs will step down.

“There is now a real risk that general practitioners already exhausted from overtime during the pandemic will move away from the profession, frustrated by the government’s attitude towards them,” said Munira Wilson, spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats for health.

“We must not forget the sacrifices that many general practitioners have made to ensure our safety. The government seems to have a short memory on this.

Labor’s fictitious health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “Within minutes, Sajid Javid’s promise to secure face-to-face appointments with a doctor was completely unraveled.

“By not offering an appropriate solution, there is now a real risk that more general practitioners will quit out of frustration. No wonder the Secretary of Health ran away to explain himself face to face. Rather than picking fights, he should deliver the additional 6,000 GP he promised as Chancellor.

Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Government Medical Officer for England, put a different tone to Javid’s when, addressing the RCGP rally, he hailed GPs as ‘exceptional’, adding: ‘I’ Huge admiration for what all of you have done, and continue to do, in the greatest public health challenge of our professional careers.

After withdrawing from the RCGP conference, Javid did a series of aired interviews in defense of his plan, then visited a GP’s office in south-east London where he praised the family physicians.

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