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Gold, incentives and meh

GPs must meet needs of 'modern Londoners', claim NHS bosses

GPs face longer working hours to address ‘worrying low satisfaction levels’ in London, after NHS bosses in the capital opened a consultation on patient satisfaction with practice opening hours.

The ‘call to action’ consultation began today and called for patient views on how practices could improve access, quality and continuity of care.

It also said that it would set up a board tasked with developing new standards for GP access and called for an end to the single-handed model of GP provision in the capital, saying it made it more ‘difficult’ to meet public expectations of the service.

The report said: ‘Our health and care services need to radically change to better meet the needs of modern Londoners.’

‘Whilst public confidence in the NHS in London has remained strong, there are some worryingly low satisfaction levels in some services. Patients are telling us they want better access to general practice and they want more services available at weekends.

‘A fundamentally different health service is needed, one capable of meeting modern health needs, with improved quality but broadly within the same resources.

‘[W]e will be seeking your views on how GP services could be strengthened, particularly around access, quality and continuity of care. London is also establishing a clinical and patient board to oversee the development of a set of access standards for general practice in 2013/14.’

It added: ‘Many patients report that they would like to be able to access their GP more quickly when they need to; and see a GP before work, after work or at the weekend.’

The local call for longer opening hours comes after health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced a £50m scheme for a group of ‘pioneer’ GP practices to open until 8pm every day at the Conservative party conference two weeks ago, and as NHS England has indicated that this year’s GP contract negotiations will focus on improving access.

New inspector of general practice Professor Steve Field has also said GPs will be facing scrutiny with regards to the level of access they provide to patients as part of a new CQC inspections regime coming into force from next April.

NHS London further set out a call for the discontinuation of single-handed working in the capital, with the document noting: ‘London has a larger number of single-handed practices than elsewhere in the country and this varies from 5% to 40% across London’s CCGs. Improving access and meeting public expectations is difficult unless this model of delivery is changed.’

Readers' comments (11)

  • Burger and fries with that!

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  • Longer opening AND continuity. The only way this can happen is if GPs do 100 hour weeks every week or drop pay to £35-40,000 per year. Who would become a GP.??? All those who have 1 GCSE will say " yeah, I could do that bleed in' job, piece-o-cake, just pushing pills" Make the entrance requirements 1 GCSE then, oh and by the way good luck to them and the public for hiring them. Or the newspapers will say "it us your moral duty". Nobody has a monopoly on morals. Get these morally righteous and highly intellectual journalists to retrain as ?GPS and show us all how it is done.

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  • increased access and high quality with same resources can't be done so it won't happen . It does make a good sound-bite though .

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  • How about a drive in clinic, patient wouldnt even have to get out of their cars, we could also do an ambulance drive in clinic for all those patients who cant afford their own transport?

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  • It would be helpful if groups calling for longer opening hours would explain exactly what patient needs are not being met. All I have seen mentioned is that patients want to see their GP at times more convenient to them. I want an Aston Martin; I do not need it.

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  • "one capable of meeting the health needs but broadly within the same resources"
    The NHS started as a "working hours service" with round the clock emergency hours cover because the public would not pay the taxes necessary to fund a 3 shift routine cover staffing.
    it was barely affordable on that system and from 1947 to 1969 required the medical staff to work compulsory unpaid overtime to balance the books, till the "brain Drain" and medical industrial action brought in a system of overtime pay at a fraction of the day rate.
    is it not funny how history has a habit of repeating itself?
    Compulsory unpaid overtime sound familiar to you?

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  • What a patient "wants" and what a patient "needs" are very different. When is this going to be addressed? Does a Londoner NEED to be seen at 20:00 when they have a sore throat for an afternoon???

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  • Why do we stay with these ' Bosses' and what they want.? What a bunch of ninnies we are. Tell them we will not do it and see what happens. Fire us all and we can leave this DREAD NHS.

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  • Rather than coming up with all this tosh that seems to insinuate that everyone except GPs are entitled to a life, shouldn't some effort be put in to managing patient expectations? As another comment so rightly stated, what a patient wants and what they need are not the same thing. This is one of the fundamental problems with a free at the point of delivery service. Joe Patient has no idea of the costs attached to a GP appointment and they probably don't care because 'I pay my taxes dont'cha know?'. If round the clock access is really needed, why are walk in centres not full to the rafters with patients seeking care out of hours? They aren't all clogging up the waiting room at A&E (despite what reports may suggest). Most will wait and see their GP. But just because a (small) proportion of patients don't want to have to wait are we going to be forced down a road which will see practices open 7 days a week?

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  • LIz Dobson you have just made me laugh out loud.


    Want vs Need (I want 24 hr doctor and chips!!)

    I think i know most who will want these appointments- and it will not in the majority be for clinical reasons more for keeping a diary running smoothly by getting little Jonny seen on sunday afternoon rather than monday. Of course there will also be those who need it - but Ooh services cover this anyway.

    Would also echo that idea that "it's your moral duty" card is wearing thin regarding GPs at present. The morals of those who have dragged the NHS and gps through the mud in recent months/years are VERY QUESTIONABLE. Both journalists and the government. Who knows maybe they are the same thing? Now there's a thought ? Watch the Leveson inquiry anyone?

    Good to see comments are reflecting a growing feeling amongst GPIs generally bored/fed up of being told what we will do by others. PULSE/RCGP/BMA are you listening?

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