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MPs urged to return to Parliament as GPs driving patients to hospital

MPs urged to return to Parliament as GPs driving patients to hospital

Doctors have urged MPs to return to Parliament for an emergency meeting on the state of the NHS, amid warnings of crumbling services.

In an open letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the Doctors Association UK shared harrowing accounts highlighting just how dire the crisis in the NHS had become.

Yet while NHS staff work relentlessly to plug critical shortfalls, Parliament continues their Christmas recess until 9 January – further delaying the essential work needed to fix the crisis, the letter states.

Stories shared by those working in the NHS included a GP in Manchester who described having to transport patients to hospital due to long ambulance waits including a woman with a VT rhythm on ECG who would have waited six hours and another a patient with sepsis.

One out-of-hours GP said the workload is constantly higher than ever before and overwhelming as well as putting patients at risk.

‘I went into work on Boxing Day morning and there were 350+ patients waiting to be called – just to triage, let alone actually be seen. Many were still waiting from the previous day.

‘Available appointments had already been booked up throughout the day so none available until early evening.

The following evening, I received an email from our manager re a “significant event” – that day a GP had triaged a patient to be seen within two hours. Because of lack of appointments the admin / coordinator booked the patient in six hours later. That patient ended up in ITU and is critically ill.’

Other doctors described seriously ill patients waiting on trolleys in corridors for many hours and patients dying because doctors could not see them quickly enough.

DAUK urged the Government to immediately recall MPs to the House of Commons to hold an emergency debate on the NHS, with all parties putting differences aside to focus on immediate actions needed to save lives.

Actions recommended for MPs by DAUK include:

  • Establish an All-Party Parliamentary Group to work towards fixing the NHS crisis.
  • Increase NHS funding—between 2010-2019, the NHS saw a £33 billion shortfall in funding compared to EU14 countries average investment.
  • Increase social care funding and care sector wages to retain staff, in order to reduce the discharge delays from NHS hospitals. 
  • Invest in primary care – visit your local practices and emergency departments and find out what is happening and the local solutions.
  • Work with representative organisations such as DAUK and others to streamline the visa system for international medical staff, to help us recruit doctors and nurses from overseas.
  • Immediately address the pensions tax crisis, which is leading to spiralling wait times as consultants and GPs are forced to drop their hours

Dr Matt Kneale, co-chair of DAUK and a junior doctor in the North-West of England said the NHS has been running on fumes.

‘It is no longer possible for the goodwill of NHS workers to be abused to prop up a failed system.’

Dr Ellen Welch, co-chair of DAUK and a GP in Cumbria added: ‘Enough is enough. Loved ones are suffering due to systemic failures and staff are crying out for help.

‘The government need to recognise how valuable NHS staff are and do everything within their power to invest in them.

‘The workforce continues to decline as burnout staff realise the job is breaking them – it is within the power of this government to invest in the NHS to make it a better place. Focus on the staff and they will stick around to look after the patients.’



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Sam Macphie 4 January, 2023 1:09 pm

Yes, ‘crumbling services’, ‘running on fumes’. Who wants NHS to continue like this. An elderly woman lying on the floor at home for 31 hours, with an extremely painful fractured pelvis, before an ambulance arrives. Excess deaths, even accounting for flu, covid, 300 to 500 extra per week according to the very concerned President Adrian Boyle of Royal College Emergency Medicine, NHS including hospital beds, ambulance service, nurse personnel and more, all run down over the years by the Blue Party people voted for, in error. All Rashy Sanuk PM can talk about, as a diversion from the NHS calamity, is pupils in school compulsorily study maths until age 18. Read the figures regarding our nations health PM Sanuk; why no COBRA meeting to stop the killing of so many patients? Perhaps this government, PM, Stephen Barclaybank, Mandy Pritchard at NHSE and University Hospital Trust CEO’s need to be sued for these deaths: unfortunately that process might take about 50 years.

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Fedup GP 4 January, 2023 1:13 pm

Lets suppose they do go back in the next 5 days….honestly – what are they going to do?
Action 5 years ago might just’ve done it – but honestly – it is fu*ked. There is no amount of cross parliamentary banter that will resolve this now.

David Church 4 January, 2023 1:48 pm

I am sure I had learnt more than enough maths by age 15 – and had an ‘O’-level in it.
To extend the time taken to cover this learning to age 18 is wasteful.

Sam is right, defunding and destruction of the NHS by this Government and it’s privatisation allies is KILLing patients.
I am not so sure we want MPs talking about it endlessly though, either.
More urgent action is needed.
Any MP not necessary to increasing NHS budget, (and preventing diversion of NHS funds to private pockets!), who has a driving licence, ought to be driving patients to hospital; or answering phones in waiting-list call-centres, to experience first hand the problems staff are facing every day.

Neil Tallant 4 January, 2023 2:06 pm

DUAK you make some valid points for discussion. What I don’t see is the point of recalling a bunch of amateurs that have proven over decades to have been completely incompetent of managing the task of running an NHS. Every political administration has been far more interested in counting the beans that they want counted rather than addressing and changing fundamental flaws.
Every Consultant and probably most junior Doctors have been working in the HNS for years longer than any Minister in “control” of the NHS yet their opinions and experience don’t even make off the bottom of the barrel to where they have been consigned for consideration.
1. Take the NHS out of political “Control”. – That system has profoundly failed – (But carry no responsibility!)
2. Invest in People – the workers, and not the bean counters.
3. Invest in grass root opinions; let’s get the dog wagging the tail again.
4. And let’s stop trying to Gold plate over the cracks and start dealing with them.

David jenkins 4 January, 2023 5:11 pm

here’s a letter i sent to our local paper – granted, it is in wales, and therefore a devolved problem, but the same principle applies.

Dear Sir

I’ve had an idea !

When covid was rife, they managed to find money to set up “field hospitals”, where those who were not sick enough to need acute medical care, but weren’t well enough to be sent home, could recuperate pending permanent discharge from the hospital environment.

Why not reintroduce these ?

The “bed-blocking” crisis could be solved very quickly.

i don’t know whether it was published.

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Anonymous 5 January, 2023 12:37 am

Meanwhile GP receptionists with no clinical acumen are turning patients away advising them to turn up at A&E or call 111.
It really is frustrating as these folk could have been seen and sorted there and then.
Do they not deserve at least to be triaged by a clinician?? Your receptionist just says no and that’s it. Absolutely shocking.
Have a paramedic do a rapid triage, check vitals make a decision on whether to see them same day, tomorrow or send in.

Reply moderated