Why don't GPs go on strike ? I read over and over in Pulse complaints by GPs about their workload, about QOF, about this and that problem with the government etc Patients are getting a raw deal but what are GPs actually doing about it other than moaning ? If you went on strike patients with urgent problems can go to A&E - apparently they already go to A&E as it can be difficult to get urgent appointments at many GP practices - it can take one to two weeks to get a non-urgent appointment so what do patients have to lose by GPs going on strike ? And we might all gain, GPs and patients, if the government took notice of GPs' complaints.
Anonymous 2.05 - I don't think you have understood what I was saying at all. I certainly would not dream of having a say in how our practice should recruit its medical workforce. However, at the PPG the partnered doctors explained to us what they were doing re the recruitment of salaried doctors and they told us how they felt this would improve continuity of care for patients as opposed to taking on partners instead. As a consequence of this policy, continuity of care has got worse, and, as I explained, there has been a huge turnover in salaried doctors and so the doctors don't know the patients' names and the patients don't know the doctors.
The purpose of writing in this thread was that the editor had asked "What’s your experience of your GP? Tell us in the comment section below...." So I did ! I doubt there are many 'patients' who read Pulse which is why no other patient has joined this thread.
As to being lucky to get a free GP service - I was not aware that our GP service was free. We pay taxes and the cost of our GP service is paid out of our taxes. I, for one, would be more than happy to pay the GP a nominal sum as we do when we see an NHS dentist - that way a symbolic contract is set up between doctor and patient at the start of a consultation saying, in effect, to the doctor "I am paying you so you must therefore treat me to the best of your ability". I think it would be very difficult to get this kind of system set up in the UK, but there's no problem with it in France where patients pay something like €20 to see their GP.
Anonymous 7.37pm - then please stay at your practice ! And encourage your colleagues to stay ! The problem is when there is a rapid turnover of salaried GPs, such as has been at our surgery, that it is impossible for them to get to know the patients. Two of the earliest ones who were very good left to become partners at other practices - they might have stayed had they been offered partnerships at our practice. One of them spoke to me before he left and said he wanted to have more say in how the practice was run but he couldn't as a salaried doctor, and since the practice were not taking on partners he left.
Anonymous 5.56pm - There were four patients on the Patient Participation Group and there are still three of us - the one who left was a retired GP who got thoroughly disenchanted with what was happening which was very sad to see.
Anonymous 8.09am - as I wrote, I could not say whether the partners did what they did for financial reasons or not, but I do know that the practice is not failing due to financial pressure, that I can be sure of. The surgery is taking on more patients and is the only surgery in the area open to new patients. It also happens to be the largest surgery in the area with at least three times as many patients as the other surgery that serves our area which is not taking on new patients. I don't think there's a lot of transparency.
Anonymous 11.11 pm - 18 months ago at a Patients Participation Group, the two GP partners told us that they were taking on salaried doctors and wouldn't take on partners because, they had the audacity and guile to tell us, that salaried doctors would give better continuity of care ! I had just happened to have read on Pulse and the BMJ a good article comparing partners and salaried doctors and it was clear that continuity of care was unlikely to happen with salaried doctors. At the meeting I pointed this out and the partners "reassured" me that continuity of care would be better than ever with salaried doctors ! I am sure now that the partners were just trying to fob the Patients Participation Group, whether that was for financial reasons or not I cannot say. I also expressed concern that the practice would be 'sold' to Virgin or some other such company - I still have that concern. Patients appear to have absolutely no power to sway what is happening to GP surgeries....despite the fact that we are all tax payers who have paid for our health service.
I should clarify that the two partners at my surgery do not want to invite new partners to work at the surgery, they expressly only want salaried doctors.
Also I should make it clear that the five minute appontment on the day with the duty doctor is only for "urgent" problems. That's fine for acute conditions and the doctor doesn't need to know the patient's name !
I think the writer of this article, Jessica Baron, has cherry picked the comments from Twitter. There are many people who write about the problems with their GPs in the Mail here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2328052/Health-Secretary-Jeremy-Hunt-launch-attack-failings-inaccessible-family-GPs.html
I am on the Patient Participation Group at my GP surgery.
My GP surgery used to be excellent. When there were partners practicing. Everyone's family GP seemed to know their patients and the patients seemed to assess the practice as excellent. One of my consultants said it was the best practice in the area. I and my husband used to say our area was too good to move from because of the excellent surgery. Then four of the partners retired two years ago, they were actually at retirement age or older. Another partner left to look after her children. This left two young partners who decided to employ salaried doctors to see to the patients. The two young partners are devoting themselves to the business side of things. The turnover of the salaried doctors over the last 18 months has been ridiculous. There is no way that any of these doctors can get to know their patients and as a consequence patients with long term conditions suffer. It takes at least two weeks to get an appointment, a "routine" appointment that is. Oh yes, anyone can get a five minute appointment on the day with the duty doctor. There is no way that this duty doctor can know the patient, unless he/she happens to be the doctor the patient (tries) to see usually. Our surgery is like a mini A&E and I was saying that 12 months ago, long before Jeremy Hunt was reported as saying that today. At the most the GP's are only good for first aid and triage, ie referral to a consultant.
My consultant, who had praised our GP surgery so much, has now advised me to transfer to another surgery that serves our area - only problem is the other surgery isn't taking on new patients so I and other patients are left stuck with a dreadful surgery. Thankfully I am pretty much an expert in "me" - not that any of these salaried doctors like that...oh no, when I try to explain something about "me" they don't want to hear and complain they haven't time. They don't have time to read my notes properly either. What about other patients who are not expert in "themselves" - that's the reason I continue to partake on the Patient Participation Group, to stand up for those patients...not that we on the Group appear to have been able to make any difference - the partners are not really interested, I wonder if they have set up the Group just for the extra dosh from the government ? Sorry to sound so cynical.
Thankfully I have good hospital consultants who care for me.
Barry - the NHS is not an "essentially free health care system" - we all pay for it in our taxes - as do you.
Bryan - I do feel that being unable to access a part time GP so easily means that continuity of care can be compromised. Of course it can be difficult to access a full time GP but is more likely to happen with a part time one. This may not matter for many patients, after all notes can be read, but patients with complex health conditions or with life threatening conditions need to know they can see their GP fairly easily, something they are more likely to be able to do with a full GP - though not always so I agree.