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LMC leaders warn over hospital ‘workload dump’

LMC leaders have warned that patient safety is being compromised by a rising tide of work from secondary care and poor communication from trusts.

Speaking at the LMCs Conference in Liverpool, GPs complained of an avalanche of unfunded work, with patients discharged earlier and before being told the results of any investigations.

GPs reported that they are being expected to pick up work buried in discharge sheets, prescribe drugs that should be under the supervision of specialists and carry out more pre- and post-op assessments than ever before.

Dr Annette Bearpark, a committee member at Leeds LMC, said CCGs to stand up to hospital trusts and negotiate for realistic transferral targets: ‘Until now certain discharges which would have been previously considered negligent are now normal.'

‘This shift in workload is unmanageable and unsafe unless there are resources to fund it.'

Dr Alan Francis, a GP in Grimsby and a member of Hull and East Yorkshire LMC, complained of poor communication in discharge summaries.

He recounted an example where the instruction for the GP was buried in page four of the document. Being so easily overlooked, he called this practice a ‘disaster waiting to happen'.

On a different occasion the document simply said ‘no follow up', but did not make it clear who should give the patient the results of their recent tests.

He said ‘This isn't a whinge, this is a matter of professionalism and clinical safety.'

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