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Practice publishes note to patients explaining why GPs are demoralised

A south London GP practice has published a note to patients on their website and in their waiting rooms explaining that why it is sometimes difficult to get a GP appointment due to the pressures that GPs are facing.

Under the headline ‘Why your GP is facing a crisis’, the website for Vassall Medical Centre in Brixton in south London provides patients with a long list of issues facing general practice to help them understand the pressure surgeries are under.

The note, which was inspired by the BMA’s campaigning to help cut GP workload and also quotes a number of Pulse articles on GP waiting times, retention and recruitment, said doctor workload has increased by 20% while the general practice budget has stayed the same.

It said the result was ‘GPs turning away patients’ and that ‘because of this more people are going straight to A&E for treatment’.

The note further explained how GPs are getting burnt out with the workload, with many taking early retirement and one in seven GPs wanting to leave the UK, while the next generation of doctors ‘don’t want to be GPs’.

It finished: ‘In conclusion: ‘Doctors have to see more people - they’re only going to get busier. They’re getting demoralised and leaving the profession. There’s no money to employ more of them; and even if the money was there, there’s a shortage of qualified people. The recruitment shortage is only making things worse for the GPs still remaining. A lack of GPs is costing the NHS money, because sending everyone to A&E is much more expensive.’

On NHS Choices, 88% of patients rated the their experience of getting an appointment at the Vassall Medical Centre as good or very good, compared with the national average of 73.8% in the latest national patient survey statistics.

Dr Di Aitken, a GP at the practice, said: ‘In general, we have a very good relationship with our patients at Vassall Medical Centre, and good levels of access that can get stretched at holiday/winter time. Our patient feedback is good and we try to get keep good lines of communication and continuity with patients and families.’

Practice manager Beera Patel said they have shared the information note not just on the website but are also displaying it in the reception area and have discussed it at their patient group meetings.

She said: ‘This is quite informative for patients because they don’t have this information at all. It gives them some idea of how the system actually works and why they may have had to wait. I think to read it, and having this explained, it has made a lot of sense to them.’

Readers' comments (25)

  • Well done, can others copy your blurb for their practice websites??

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  • Well done!!

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  • You can be sued for posting misinformation about there being a "crisis".The fact that you're having problems recruiting may be a reflection of your own practice/demographics.Historically there has always been a shortage of GPs wanting to work in certain areas (inner cities,rural areas) and surplus in others (leafy white middle class suburbs).That is notihing new.You'll be hard pushed to find demoralised GPs here in Nottingham and with a local medical school we have never had any problems recruiting.So please do not generalise!

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  • "Anonymous | GP Partner | 27 March 2015 6:19pm
    You can be sued for posting misinformation about there being a "crisis".The fact that you're having problems recruiting may be a reflection of your own practice/demographics.Historically there has always been a shortage of GPs wanting to work in certain areas (inner cities,rural areas) and surplus in others (leafy white middle class suburbs).That is notihing new.You'll be hard pushed to find demoralised GPs here in Nottingham and with a local medical school we have never had any problems recruiting.So please do not generalise!"



    What makes Nottingham representative of the UK??? I've your comments on PULSE before and I might suggest you get out of your cosy practice and sniff the air...you are well short of the mark in your assessment of the state of general practice in the rest of the country...but I'm glad for you ...you seem to be having an nice easy time in your neck the woods...congratulations ...good on you....but please do us a favour and stop lecturing everyone else.

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  • I've met over 20 GPs who are demoralised in Nottingham, there is a load of locum work available too...

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  • Doctor: How can I help you today?

    Patient: Doctor, actually, that is the exact question I came to ask you today. How can I help you today, you look so demoralized.

    Doctor: We are over worked, underpaid, etc, etc, etc.

    Patient: Sorry, your 10min allocated consultation time is over. I have to now go and see another doctor in your surgery who is also demoralised. Nice to have met you. Bye.

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  • If things were so good in Nottingham, why is there a
    30 % vacancy in our deanery GP training recruitment?
    Being a Nottingham resident and a GP, it is scary that the "GP partner from Nottingham " has his/ her head buried in the sand.
    That said, there are a few notoriously posh or so called posh areas in Nottingham where the residents including the GP are mad..

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  • Vinci Ho

    Go with your heart , Dr Aitken, say what you believe.Freedom of Speech and Freedom from Fear.

    Truth at last cannot be hidden. Dissimulation is of no avail. Dissimulation is to no purpose before so great a judge. Falsehood puts on a mask. Nothing is hidden under the sun.
    Leonardo Da Vinci

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  • Great article. I am a GP Partner in Nottingham and I can reassure other readers that the grass is definitely NOT any greener here. We have one of the highest number of unfilled GP training posts in the East Midlands. We have some of the most deprived areas in the UK. I know hundreds of experienced GPs in the locality and beyond and can honestly say that the vast majority of them are overworked, demoralised and disenfranchised.

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  • Reduce sessions. I have done it and am now loving it again.
    Extra income can be topped up easily by out of hours if you need it..
    Spend more time with friends and family.
    Will lead to reduced access and a poorer service, but keeps you sane.
    - anonymous salaried!

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