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Lib Dems call for patients over 70 to see same GP at every appointment

Lib Dems call for patients over 70 to see same GP at every appointment

The Liberal Democrats have called for a new policy to ensure all patients over 70 and those with long-term conditions see the same GP for every appointment.

New polling commissioned by the party found that almost half (47%) of patients who have been to their GP more than once in the last couple of years say they ‘have rarely or never’ seen the same GP for every appointment.

Of these, almost one in five (18%) say they have never seen the same GP in the past few years and the number rises for those aged over 65, with a quarter (27%) never seeing the same GP.

The Lib Dems want a new policy to ensure all those over 70 and with a long-term condition have access to a named GP, as both of these groups ‘have been found to benefit the most’ from access to the same GP, and the policy would also include those with long-term mental health conditions.

However, the RCGP warned that while continuity of care is ‘highly valued’ by patients, introducing ‘arbitrary mandates’ for practices to ensure this happens would pile on pressure to an ‘already struggling’ service.

The polling also found that 46% of patients who have been to their GP more than once said the wait to see the GP for every appointment is considerably longer, and this rises to over half (55%) of those aged over 65.

As previously announced, the party is also campaigning to increase in the number of GPs by 8,000.

Lib Dem leader Ed Davey said: ‘It is a scandal that under this Government’s watch, the family GP has become a thing of the past.

‘Pensioners are not receiving the care they need because doctor surgeries are swamped, leaving waiting times spiralling out of control.

‘We need a return to the family GP, starting with older people and those with long-term health conditions.

‘We want to see the return of the named GP, so patients with complex care needs see the same GP and don’t have to waste time going over the same details every time they see a doctor.

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‘This would provide vital personalised care for those who need it most, helping people lead healthier lives, independently in their own homes wherever possible.’

RCGP chair Professor Kamila Hawthorne said that this research suggests that, by and large, GP and their teams are providing continuity ‘as best they can, in very difficult circumstances’.

She said: ‘We know that continuity of care is highly valued by our patients, particularly those with complex health needs, and has significant benefits for the NHS generally.

‘From a GP point of view, it allows us to build trusting relationships with our patients and deliver them truly holistic care.’

She added that the NHS does not have ‘enough GPs to guarantee continuity of care to all patients’ and some patients ‘value it more than others’, with some prioritising quicker access or convenience.

‘It also isn’t always necessary for a patient to see the same GP, or even a GP, for every appointment – so we would be very cautious about introducing arbitrary mandates for practices to ensure this happens,’ Professor Hawthorne added.

‘This would simply pile on pressure to an already struggling service, and be fraught with potential difficulties and unintended consequences.’

Previously the Labour party also said it wanted to ‘bring back the family doctor’ and give GP practices financial incentives to let patients see the same doctor every time, in a bid to boost continuity of care.

This year’s GP contract ‘explicitly’ requires practices to consider continuity of care when a patient makes contact.

Lower GP continuity is linked with increased mortality in patients with several chronic diseases, a new study has found. Another recent study suggested that continuity of care also increases productivity in general practice.

Last year, a survey of over 4,000 people in the UK has found the majority want to see the same GP every time they attend an appointment.


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Turn out The Lights 29 April, 2024 9:32 am

Cloud Cuckoo land politics. Just stopping the collapses of GP land should be the first task.This is the Froth on the Beer and is unachievable after the last 20 years of serving a punishment on GPs.

ian owen 29 April, 2024 11:05 am

It’s fine. It’s the Liberal Democrat’s. Even when they had power nobody listened to them

Paul Hartley 29 April, 2024 11:38 am

Policies made by polititions, who don’t understand what they are talking about

Darren Tymens 29 April, 2024 12:40 pm

Honestly, it’s a nice idea and will play well at the doorstep on campaign, but currently unworkable.
We’d need a GP to patient ratio of 1:1000, and the intensity of the work would have to be much lower so we could all manage to work 8 sessions without burning out quickly.
Still, let’s hope this is the start of all political parties competing in making promises to fund general practice better in order to provide better GP services than we are currently able.

Fedup GP 29 April, 2024 12:45 pm

Policy would ideally include detail on how this is going to be achieved – without that it is just extremely wishful thinking.

David Church 29 April, 2024 1:02 pm

Ha Ha, that’s a good one. Although as usual the LibDems have timed it poorly – April Fools’ Day was 4 weeks ago !!!!!

Dr Darren seems to think he can achieve it though, whilst only doing 8 sessions a week, which is a very restrictive time when patinets will want emergency appointments on his day off – and he will still have to go in to see them!!
Most of us do not see why only GPs can do appointments for dressing changes, bloodletting, smears, flu jabs, ECGs, and checking weights as well – unless they reduce list size to about 50 patients per GP whilst letting us choose who we will allow on our lists – bags I no LibDems please.

Not on your Nelly 29 April, 2024 1:06 pm

offer a derisory 2% uplift and expect the world in return. Then suggesting chaining GPs , none of whom work (or would want to work) full time, to ensure the patients can see the same person every time. Great idea. Its a good think the liberal have no chance of winning. It is lose lose with all the parties so make as much noise as you want. I want never gets.

Penny McEvoy 29 April, 2024 2:57 pm

How DO they think that will work ? With a work force made up of many part time GPs ? Even full time GPs are not there all opening hours week in week out – they are allowed to have holidays, study leave, sick leave, maternity, paternity & adoption leave ?

John Glasspool 29 April, 2024 3:15 pm

No holidays nor maternity leave then!

Anthony Roberts 29 April, 2024 3:54 pm

Perhaps Sir Ed could ask Fujitsu to contribute something to help fund all these extra GP’s?

Krishna Malladi 29 April, 2024 4:06 pm

You can ask for whatever you want mate if you’re willing to pay for it.

Rob M 29 April, 2024 4:56 pm

Presumably to be achieved by all GPs having to stay on working into their 70s. And then working all day we wont have any free time to trouble our own GPs. Brilliant

So the bird flew away 29 April, 2024 6:16 pm

The Libdems kick off the election cycle’s auction of “hollow promises”. I’m overdue a right good laugh so I’m waiting to see what the incumbent Tory Govt’s going to promise for the NHS…