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GPs go forth

This election needs proper initiatives around GP workload

Editor’s blog

On Saturday, Welsh GP leaders will be debating whether to lobby ministers to revolutionise home visits.

A motion at the LMCs Conference calls for practices to be allowed to transfer urgent home visits to the emergency services after 2pm in a bid to relieve workload pressures. Of course, we don’t know whether the motion will pass, and even if it does, it is a long way before it becomes policy.

But what struck me about this is that it is an actual implementable initiative that will have an obvious impact on workload. This makes a refreshing change from hopeful statements about new primary care staff and practices working together.

We will be writing to health spokespeople with our Pulse manifesto on GP workloads

As important as it is to get the long-term strategy right, what we need right now is immediate policies to stem the demand. This should be the most pressing priority for the health spokespeople in the coming election.

And we will be writing to them with our Pulse manifesto on GP workloads, which we will be formulating over the coming week. So if you have any ideas about what to include, please send them to

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

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Readers' comments (7)

  • Why the Welsh proposal has no chance of being adopted:

    ambulance call out £180 (says the Independent newspaper)
    Expensive, scarce resource, limited availability
    Ambulance presence increases chance of admission £2000+
    GP home visit £0, free unlimited calls

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  • Vinci Ho

    This could turn out to be the most extraordinary general election in post war period . Apart from being against a backdrop of Brexit or No Brexit conundrum, there is actually no one easy way to predict which party is to win the contest , despite Tories might think the poll was generally favourable to them .But early ominous signs have already been written on the wall when the most ‘clever ‘ Mr Rees-Mogg gave his comment about the Grenfell Tower disaster which had to be rescued by his immediate apology but was further complicated by another insouciant comment made by his conservative buddy , Andrew Bridgen . More will come ; not to mention the resignation of their Welsh Secretary , Mr Cairns , this evening.
    Labour , on the other hand , is holding at least , one ticking bomb named ‘Antisemitism’ . Its background powerful political machineries ( NEC , Momentum etc) have to be switched on to ‘cleanse’ the party . While that always remind me of Third International from last century , drastic measures adopted could potentially backfire.
    For those preferring the extreme ends of the ‘light spectrum’ of politics , you can choose either Liberal Democrat pushing hard to revoke Brexit led by their female wannabe prime minister or Brexit party for no-deal Brexit led by a leader who does not even participate in the actual election( ironically, his most successful elections were with EU he never supports!).
    So all their political castles are prone to ‘implosion’ (I always believe that castles are more likely to be conquered from inside than outside ,anyway 😆)
    They all need a campaign to sell something highly trustworthy, what else is better than doctors and nurses in NHS ?😜😂
    So , feel free to stick anything as unimaginable, far-fetching and eccentric on this ‘menu’ , Jaimie🤪
    The truth is any new government will need us far more than we need it . And there is no better time to be Aladdin calling for his wishes .
    Thank you , Jaimie

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  • "immediate policies to stem the demand"???

    1. charge patients for appts, DNAs, etc. + prescriptions in Scotland
    2. No prescribing of otc meds unless nursing/elderly care.

    instant solutions...

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  • David Banner

    Copernicus is bang on, no chance of ever becoming policy.

    We need to remember though, we are NOT an emergency service, we do visits at our (in)convenience, so if a request comes in after 2pm and really can’t wait until the next day, then it is clearly an emergency which should be passed to the emergency service.

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  • Took Early Retirement

    Actually, nothing will be done. GP workload is not at the top of anyone's agenda. Nor will it be until a few unfortunate people die for want of a GP. (The sort of scenario I imagine is people with flu deciding to call 999, so that the Ambulance service ceases to function, as well as the ED.)

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  • Jaimie, we GPs do not define safe workloads. It is pointless to keep saying 'excessive' without any definition of ' normal' is.
    We accept a Patient number based contract with no definition of appointments/ consultations per patient. So, if consultation per patient goes up threefold in 20 years and continues to rise year on year, but we continue to stick to the same patient number mantra rather than define workloads by appointment number, which we can quantify as safe then we can only blame ourselves.
    BMA ARMs through the years have decided against appointment based Contracts or even defining safe consultation/ day/week.
    I remember Clare Gerada [ I think ] saying she would not like to the GP's 50th patient that day, but did not stay to define what number she would like to be.
    I did maths once and it is still my hobby. I believe the Universe is mathematical. How many GPs we need [ eg 6000] has to be based on some mathematical concept of appointment numbers/ WTE GPs/ workload capacity to define a few parameters.
    The ball is not with the Govt. It lies with us.

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  • The weak BMA should get tough and we should just say no visits. Professionals should be able to manage their workload.
    It is well abused, patients calling for visits going out shopping, doing their hair and being able to get to hospitals far away and town centers.
    If they are that bad they cannot walk, they need an admission.
    Works in other countries, on other humans.

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