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Independents' Day

GP practices to reduce routine appointments on junior doctor strike days

Exclusive Some GP practices will reduce routine appointments to patients on the junior doctor strike days as a precaution in case of an increase in urgent care demand, Pulse has learned.

Doncaster LMC medical secretary Dr Dean Eggitt said his practice is fully supportive of the strikes, but has already limited pre-booked appointments on 1 December, the first day on which junior doctors are due to walk out.

Another practice, in Wiltshire, has also informed patients that it will only be taking urgent appointments on this day.

The GPC has said it is not expecting a surge in demand at GP practices on the days of the industrial action, which will see junior doctors continuing to provide emergency care on 1 December, followed by a full walk-out from 8am to 5pm on Tuesday 8 December, and another at the same time on Wednesday 16 December.

But some practices are taking precautions in the run-up to the action.

Dr Eggitt’s Oakwood Surgery in Doncaster has sent out a note to patients via social media which says: ’To ensure that no harm comes to patients as a consequence of the strike action, we will be reducing routine access to care on this day to help cope with any unexpected increases in demand from other parts of the NHS.

’Whilst we do not anticipate a large surge in demand for our service on the day of the strike we feel that this is the best course of action to ensure safety for our patients who require urgent care.’

Dr Eggitt also invited other GPs to use the message should they wish to do so, and the same message now features on the Three Swans Surgery in Salisbury, Wiltshire. 

Asked why the practice took the decision to send the note, Dr Eggitt told Pulse: ’For two reasons, really. One, because we wanted to support our junior doctors in their strike, so we wanted to send out a message of support.

’Secondly, for the genuine consideration that there may be a surge in activity in primary care. We wanted to ensure that we had the capacity to cope if there is a surge in activity.’

However, GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ’Practices should not anticipate seeing more patients on these days as it’s unlikely that patients who would otherwise have attended an out patient clinic in hospital or were booked for an operation would attend their general practice instead on the days of action.

’I’ve no doubt however that even if there is an increase in workload for GPs they will see that as a price worth paying in order to support their junior doctor colleagues.’

Earlier this month, a BMA ballot saw 98% of junior doctors voting in favour of full strike action over the contract row that sees the Government pushing to reduce pay for doctors working on weekends. The GPC is supporting the action.

The letter in full:

”Important information about the upcoming Junior Doctor Strike.

Between 8am Tuesday 1st December and 8am Wednesday 2nd December junior doctors across the UK will be striking against the government. This strike is to oppose contract changes which junior doctors believe will cause harm to patients.

On this day, junior doctors will not be providing routine care in the NHS, but will provide emergency care only.

To ensure that no harm comes to patients as a consequence of the strike action, we will be reducing routine access to care on this day to help cope with any unexpected increases in demand from other parts of the NHS.

Whilst we do not anticipate a large surge in demand for our service on the day of the strike we feel that this is the best course of action to ensure safety for our patients who require urgent care.

Consequently, if you medical problem is not urgent, please do not request an appointment for Tuesday 1st December.

Please be thoughtful on the strike day and respect that our junior doctors are trying to safeguard the quality of care that they are able to provide for you.”

Source: The Oakwood Surgery

 

Readers' comments (20)

  • Wait, breaking news..... Jeremy has been sighted in a gp practice in Streatham skulking behind his paymasters in a photo today in the torygraph. They all had their sleeves rolled up to give an image that they were action men getting ready for business. So utterly pathetic really!
    Too frightened to go into a hospital. I wonder why????

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  • I am supporting junior strikes by refusing to work on those days. Let the hospital trusts deal with the backlash of not giving juniors proper employment rights and good working conditions.

    I would suggest every GP that gets anybody complaining to them about cancelled operations/clinics redirects the complaint back to the trust.

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  • Any complaint should be directed toward their MPs,especially is Tory safe seats.Make them work!

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  • Suspect commentators are misinterpreting Dr Eggit's actions; by reducing routine appointments the practice will be inconveniencing some patients and will actually be supporting strike action.

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  • Una Coales

    We respect Dr Dean Eggitt for showing solidarity with the junior doctors strike by reducing routine appointments as hospital trusts cancel routine procedures.

    We GPs were never given a ballot against an unworkable contract.
    Instead we continue mourn more sudden deaths among overworked NHS GP partners.
    These GP partners will be remembered.

    More overworked NHS GP partners have died suddenly between October and November 2015 of heart attacks or heart failure. RIP and the BMA still has not balloted GPs on industrial action (work to rule, unsigned mass resignation, strike days, boycott cremation form signing, anything!) against an unworkable slave contract.

    RIP NHS GP partner Dr Brian Keighley died suddenly November 2015, aged 68.
    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/tributes-long-serving-former-balfron-6825789

    RIP NHS GP partner Dr Mukesh Patel died suddenly of a heart attack October 2015, aged 59.
    http://www.granthamtarget.co.uk/Popular-GP-59-died-hospital-following-cardiac/story-28062631-detail/story.html#AGMeT8pMHZPQK3it.01

    RIP NHS GP partner Dr Jenny Wess died suddenly of heart failure October 2015, aged 52.
    http://www.newsnorthwales.co.uk/news/153794/overton-on-dee-gp-s-death-leaves-husband-and-children-devastated.aspx#.Vllh5W0s5FE.facebook

    RIP NHS GP partner Dr Hameed Khan died suddenly of a heart attack October 2015, aged 68.
    http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/13336986.Tributes_to__kind_and_compassionate__GP/?ref=fbshr

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  • I agree with the more recent comments. We have reduced pre book able appts that day as our registrars are rightfully striking. They would see a proportion of acute and prebooked patients so we will need more acute capacity that day. This is nothing to do with the cancelled hospital elective list or outpatient appointments!

    Ps before anyone says registrars are supernumerary - does every non training practice have spare capacity lying around that wouldn't get filled if you had registrars? Didn't think so.

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  • /Why change anything-we need the full impact felt to everyone and the government

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  • I'm not doing any OOH on those strike days .

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  • Here we go again. GP martyrs making a big deal about being seen to do the right thing whilst selling out on colleagues and clearly actually doing the wrong thing.
    What hero’s eh - reducing routine slots in primary care just in case secondary care falls over? How stupid. Nobody will appreciate it. If you are one patient short of a QOF target on 31st March do you think NHSE would accept mitigation that you could have achieved it had you not reduced your routine appointments whilst the junior docs were on strike? Of course not.
    And what message does this behavior send? “Go ahead and smash our junior doctor colleagues Jeremy, we are such obedient little GP workers and we will be there to pick up the pieces.”
    Stop trying to please the public. They don’t care about you. Even you egotistic great “pillars of the community” who think you are so important and loved by your patients. You are not so special you know. They forget your name within a year of retirement. They turn against you as soon as you don’t give them what they want. They couldn’t care less about you or your family’s welfare. They just care about themselves.
    Doctors should stand firm and refuse to help out the government which has and continues to destroy the NHS. We should all work to rule on these strike days if we are to ensure maximum impact.

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