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The waiting game

NHS England to debate further support for 'intense pressures' GPs face following Pulse campaigning

Exclusive NHS England will debate the ‘intense pressures’ facing general practice in its board meetings this week as a result of GP lobbying through Pulse’s Battling Burnout campaign.

In response to an urgent letter from Pulse, signed by more than 150 GPs and practice managers, NHS England chairman Professor Malcolm Grant has written to acknowledge the ‘seriousness’ of the issues affecting general practice.

Pulse said there needed to be ‘urgent reassessment of how GP practices are funded’, in particular looking at the devaluation of QOF payments, the MPIG withdrawal and the national review of PMS funding , and urged Professor Grant to ‘reconsider the restrictions on occupational health funding for practice staff, such as practice nurses or managers’.

Professor Grant added that he will raise the concerns about GP burnout at NHS England, with a view to it forming part of NHS England’s ‘five year forward view’ for NHS services, due next month.

GPC welcomed the development, and said it was essential that the issue remained on NHS England’s agenda.

Pulse wrote to Professor Grant after NHS England agreed to national provision of ‘high quality’ occupational health services for GPs in need, following intense campaigning by Pulse.

Professor Grant’s response states: ‘Thank you for your letter of 1 August 2014, in which you express the hope that our recognition, at NHS England, of the intense pressures on the GP profession, should be the first stage of a wider reassessment of how the NHS can support GPs better.

‘I am deeply conscious of the seriousness of this issue, and it is one that I will be raising with the Board of NHS England in our meetings next week.

‘It forms part of the complex framework for our thinking that we are developing for the five year forward view for the provision of NHS services that we are proposing to publish next month.’

Last week, the BMA launched a manifesto calling for political parties to pledge to invest in sustaining and supporting the NHS workforce, ahead of the 2015 general election.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul told Pulse it was essential that this issue was kept on NHS England’s agenda, saying: ‘We cannot take off the pressure on this issue, because it isn’t just having an occupational health service, it’s have a fit for purpose occupational health service.

‘So we need to make sure that the pressure is maintained. Firstly to make sure it’s fit for purpose, second to make sure it covers all GPs – not just those in practices - and thirdly, that practice staff are also covered.

‘I don’t think this is an issue about whether or not you have an occupational health service; this is about the sustainability of general practice to continue providing care.’

NHS England had pledged to retain any legacy PCT funding for occupational health services that were in place when area teams took over, but Pulse revealed that many area teams were backtracking on the deal.

In some areas, occupational health services would only be funded where a GP’s performance was already suffering, and national availability of support services was highly variable.

Readers' comments (18)

  • The rest of the world are trying to replicate the best parts of UK general practice and you guys are being run into the ground.

    Absolute madness

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  • Professor Grant, thank you for listening and Pulse thank you for the support.

    We wish you well.

    - anonymous Salaried!

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  • As a recently burnt out GP who basically has resigned as what seemed like at the time only feasible way of removing myself from the situation- my practice was under pressure and if I had gone off with stress I felt the practice would have imploded- there has got to be external support.
    I have found it mind boggling that i have resigned 10 yrs before retirement age and no-one from our powers that be has come to me and asked me why.
    Consequently both my husband( another GP in his prime) and I are off to Australia to work.
    I am not bigging myself up but I do consider this to be a loss to The NHS and also now am starting to feel bit cross re the fact I had to throw my financial security into the wind to save my sanity.
    Should I sue the NHS for loss of earnings and pension for the next 10 yrs?
    I will not as keen to use the rest of my life constructively and want to get away from the negativity that has taken over my life but do wonder if there is a case for it?

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  • Professor Grant needs to realise that amongst the troops who deal with 90% of all NHS contacts morale is rock bottom and mutiny is imminent.

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  • "Mutiny" is the covert ideal from Tories. They reckon GP land can go the same ££ way as dentistry.The smart thing will be blame on greedy "mutineers".

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  • You all seem to be overlooking patients in this - a family member went to her GP with a chest infection and associated breathing difficulties; the GP (via the receptionist) refused to see her as they were doing paperwork!
    Way to go on patient-centred care!!

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  • Indeed the fact that we are self employed can be turned back on us as ' we only have ourselves to blame for our conditions of work'.
    This is why I have not gone public or made any political statement on leaving my practice as know there are many worse off than me and not a lot of sympathy out there for us as a group

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  • A case in point- Steve Eggleton as everyone will have a story about a less than ideal contact with a GP but the amount of tasks now required in a day are now not compatible with a human brain.
    Basic days at my practice involved 30 patient face to face 40-50 phone calls 50 sets of results 50 to 100 clinical letters needing reading and 20 emails not to mention the prescriptions.

    This is just the clinical work before the running of the business which is fitted in between serving the customers. You will be the first person to create if a GP stops processing prescription requests A task that would take about an hour a day on its own. Paperwork is not trivial but a massive part of our working day that cannot be left else it turns into huge mountain.

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  • 11.43 says mutiny is imminent. What are GPs waiting for? If thousands refuse to participate in Outside Boundary Scheme, FFT, Named Doctors for >75 and all the other hair brained schemes that Jeremy is introducing, the government would be powerless. Practices who are confident that they are providing a safe and quality service could refuse to allow CQC over the door. They can't withdraw the contract from thousands and you will get all the support you need from the patients who will enjoy a better service. And all this coming with a General Election next year. In other words there are plenty ways of taking industrial action without withholding services from the public.

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  • too late

    I am off at 50

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