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Where's the evidence?

Editor’s blog

Cast your mind back to the heady days of 2018 when the Government announced that GPs in A&E would save the NHS over winter. If nothing else, it was fantastic news that we had this untapped source of GPs growing on trees.

At the time, NHS England suggested that every A&E in the country would benefit. Then everyone forgot all about it.

Now this zombie policy has reared its head again. The Government has said that they are expanding the programme, after finding that 10% of A&E patients are diverted to the GP streaming service.

How many GP hours were spent in A&E that could’ve been spent in the practice? 

Yet they won’t release this evidence, leaving us all with serious questions. How many GP hours were spent in A&E that could’ve been spent in the practice? How much did it cost? What does 10% mean in this context? Were they patients who would otherwise have attended A&E or did this streaming service simply increase demand? And, most importantly, how many of the ‘6,000 new GPs’ will go towards A&E streaming? We may never know.

But this is typical of this Government’s thinking. It sounds good, so let’s go with it. Artificial intelligence, additional roles, video consultations, networks - all policies announced with glee, but with no tangible evidence to support it.

Like the other schemes, GPs in A&E may actually work. But all we have now is the Government’s word for it. This is no way to run health policy.

Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at editor@pulsetoday.co.uk

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Readers' comments (7)

  • 12 hour shift of mopping up the dregs and dross and, ‘see your GP’ script. I can do that in the comfort of my own room, and have a break when I feel like it.
    Local trust cannot understand why they can’t find anyone to do it
    Won’t increase pay rates, been unchanged for 10 years. As full timer, I would lose more in pension tax penalties than I could earn

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  • What do you expect from the government which brought us Brexit? Evidence based policy?

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  • Nothing that the government does is evidence based but is rather politically motivated.

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  • @G doc. Brexit was the purest expression of democracy by the largest organised franchise in british history.

    Are you some kind of fascist?

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  • Vanity projects. They need clinicians (ideally elected by the GP workforce) running the show. Enough greasy pole to top of NHSE. Too much self interest, not enough common sense or experience of the job.

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  • |Personal views | Doctor in Training|20 Feb 2020 12:06pm
    "Too much self interest, not enough common sense or experience of the job."

    - Where do you think does that NOT happen? It happens in the public sector, it happens in the private sector. It is human nature, that's not to say it can't be transcended of course. Power corrupts, and the only way to combat it is transparency, which limits power through scrutiny.

    Criticise the state all you want, but never forget that 'the state' is just people, like you and me, and who's to say we won't be the same, or worse, in the same position.

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  • But Boris says it's true! And we all know Boris doesn't EVER fib about anything...

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