This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Read the latest issue online

A faulty production line

Working group set up as NHS England admits GPs still suffer workload ‘dump’

NHS England has set up a special working group to tackle what GP practices often refer to as workload ‘dump’ from hospitals.

It told Pulse that 'a national stakeholder working group' had been set up with the objective to 'improve processes and collaboration' between primary and secondary care.

NHS England said the work carried out by the 'very committed' group should 'reduce workload for GPs' and 'improve patient care'.

Among other measures, the hospital contract now sets out that it is the responsibility of hospital trusts to 'respond to patient queries for matters relating to their care rather than asking the patient to contact their GP'.

But NHS England primary care director and GP Dr Arvind Madan acknowleded in an opinion piece for Pulse that 'we are yet to see our workload significantly reduced by changes to the contract between CCGs and hospitals'.

And a Pulse investigation last year found that not a single CCG has enforced a contractual requirement on trusts to stop dumping work on GPs.

An NHS England spokesperson said: 'We have co-produced guidance with our partners to raise awareness of the new measures in the NHS Standard Contract and continue to improve communications around the benefits of these changes.

'We have worked with partners across the system to develop national guidance clarifying responsibilities for prescribing between primary and secondary care.

'This will ensure GPs only take on appropriate responsibilities for prescribing from secondary care. We are identifying examples of good practice where primary and secondary care are working well together.'


Readers' comments (5)

  • Yet the recent 'agreed' guidance on post hospital medication prescribing felt that 7 days scripts for the complex vulnerable patients coming out of hospital is easily adequate for: the script to reach the practice; GP to review changes to medication and chase appropriate clinical information and clarifications where the dose or reason for medication change is unclear; new script to be dispensed by chemist; medications to get to patient.
    All within 5 working days, notwithstanding bank holidays etc.

    Thus making every hospital discharge script 'urgent' by default.

    Another example of dumping.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • above might be manageable if hosp discharges got their act together- but my greater bug is when hospital dischargers -if genuinely mistakently -req something we can't prescribe/don't do in gp land-7 days is not enough for this to be discovered and .the patient to be advised must get their next supply of Roobarbimab or their followup custardisotope scan from the hospital...but I'm going to run out over the weekend!!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Or the discharge is unclear regarding what medicines were stopped or there are medication interactions flagged up that aren't referenced in the discharge note.
    Loads of things that PREDICTABLY will occur given the rapid turnover of complex patients.
    Why create a situation where there is more same day urgency?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The ONLY way this will change is if there is money involved. If hospitals were charged (fined?) for dumping workload on to GP practices and GPs were rewarded for taking on that workload (or better still rewarded for reporting the dump but bouncing back the workload) then the problem would stop instantly.

    Anything short of that is not going to work.


    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I think the internal market is clearly not working, either it needs to be scrapped or contracts changed - re: GP contract to explicitly say what we will and will not do and no open ended clauses.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say