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CAMHS won't see you now

Nearly 1,400 in support of petition for GP workload cap following doctor suicide

A GP has started a petition calling for safe working hours in general practice, following the suicide of Dr George Porteous from Lockerbie Medical Centre, Scotland, in September.

The petition was created on world mental health day, 10 October, and has already gained 1,388 signatures in support of a workload cap.

North London GP Dr Anshumen Bhagat, who started the petition, said the lack of safe working hours is the main cause of the GP shortage in the UK, due to burnout, GPs leaving the profession and fewer doctors coming into general practice.

It also follows reports that 430 doctors died by suicide over the past four years, which Dr Bhagat said ‘has to stop’.

The petition has called for several measures to help with workload and the mental health of GPs, including:

  • A new Government-funded study into the maximum number of sessions a GP should work per week/month that is sustainable and safe. This will assess the physical and mental strain on GPs today;
  • Introduce an increased 15-minute appointment time, to enable GPs to treat patients effectively;
  • A new general practice working time directive (GPWTD) to introduce a maximum working week/month;
  • A new promise from the Government to recruit an updated number of GPs based on that GPWTD;
  • An official channel for NHS GPs who are completing the GPWTD role to access and apply for non-patient-facing roles in the NHS and beyond, to combat fatigue.

Dr Bhagat said: ‘The incredible response to this petition from UK GPs who are struggling on the front line confirms the urgency for change, before it is too late.’

‘The comments left by GPs are what I hear in GP circles, on GP forums and when speaking to my colleagues all the time – this is real – general practice is in real trouble if major change doesn’t come soon.’

‘A working hours directive for GPs is a bare minimum of what is required to make the working life of a GP safe and sustainable. The time to act is now. We can’t lose any more GPs. We can’t lose any more lives.’

Dr Bhagat, who runs private GP home visiting service GP Delivered Quick (GPDQ), has also submitted an urgent request to meet with the health secretary Matt Hancock and public health minister Steve Brine to discuss change to GP working hours.

It follows calls for workload ‘black alerts’ by the BMA in March this year, which would see GP practices that face unsustainable workload divert or cancel all routine appointments.

The guidance, prepared by the GP Committee, suggested that 25 routine appointments a day were a ‘safe’ limit for individual GPs, whereas 35 were ‘unsafe’.

Readers' comments (19)

  • Why is it acceptable for hospitals to declare a ‘black rating’ and therefore not able to accept any patients, when we are unable to restrict access in any way? I work in an area with a large elderly population, if we were to get a bad flu epidemic, we would be crippled with home visits let alone appointments. I want GP surgeries to be a part of the alert system as this reduces workload crises and litigation at the end of the day.

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  • sorry MEG no one cares, not even many of your own colleagues could care less, it would be the typical 'UM lets have a think about it and discuss it, interesting point' and that will be that. Wake up all of those Pulse responders you are the only guys that really care about our current dire straits and together we could do something about it, but need to go high very high and create havoc. Enough of this BS diplomatic nicey nicey approach. NO ONE CARES.Got it. No one Cares Like most reading these posts.

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  • Luke is right... no-one cares.... the best art in negotiation is not to negotiate..... we should be doing are own thing but the RCGP are just a bunch of sheep, desperate to hang onto their london edifice.... everyone should CANCEL their RCGP subscription, and refuse to teach any new students, but obviously allowing those who have started to complete their training, this would effectively stop GP training overnight and thus it would be imminently predictable that there will be a crash in GP numbers in the next 3-4 years when more gullible stop coming off the production line.... The government would then be faced with the collapse of the NHS. Now you finally have a bargaining chip.

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  • thats a very key point in this mess, 'the gullible coming off the production line', which is exactly how the government has played it so far with all the new recruits to drive things their way.

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  • I've started sign posting medical students on placement to Pulse. They come across as incredibly brainwashed in their views of the state of the NHS.

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  • the best hope is from this GP who is trying to change rules regarding charging for private services. Shame none of the large organisations thought of this.

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  • How much of this was due to bullying and harassment by the local establishment, we'll never know. 430 of our struggling colleagues have chosen the permanent gagging option !! Was there none to listen to them and pay heed to their concerns?

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  • Macaque

    What about our colleagues who work full time and do as much out of hours? What about the practices where they minimise the number of partners for maximum profit? This petition is not good for them.I think that's the majority.

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  • How many DoH/NHS/NHSE Managers committed suicide during same period?

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