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Weekly round-up: When you are in a hole, GMC…


When you are in a hole, GMC…

digging hole getty images 496235837 3x2

digging hole getty images 496235837 3×2

I would not like to work in the GMC press office at the moment.

First there is the furore over its handling of the case involving Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba. All you have to do is look at Pulse’s front cover this month to see how high feelings are running among doctors about this.

Secondly, there is the case of surgeon David Sellu, where the GMC’s attempt to strike him off has been blocked by its own tribunal.

Then, you have the revelation this morning that the GMC has gone against its own guidance (see paragraph 16b), and new advice from Public Health England, by giving its staff £35k worth of private health screening each year, some of which is not even recommended on the NHS.

And you can bet that any abnormalities picked up during those screens will be seen by – yes, you have guessed it – hard-pressed GPs paying the GMC’s fees.

You could not make it up.


Don’t doff your cap

IT - touch screen - patient registration - appointment - online

IT – touch screen – patient registration – appointment – online

Source: © Julian Claxton

NHS England has rather curtly rebuffed any suggestion that GPs can set a safe limit on the number of patient contacts they have.

The BMA has suggested a limit per GP of 25-35 routine consultations – or 15 complex consultations – as a recommended ‘safe’ limit this week, with any overspill being managed by a local GP hub.

It comes after a Pulse survey revealed that GPs in the UK have an average of 41.5 patient contacts every day – 60% more than the number considered safe by European GPs.

But in a comment given to Pulse on the plans, a NHS England spokesperson has clarified that ‘arbitrary caps on patient appointments’ would be an automatic breach of the GP contract.

And the RCGP has also laid in, saying that while it supports giving practices an emergency brake it does not agree with the proposed cap on daily consultations ‘given how varied and diverse GP consultations can be’. 

It clearly is the right issue, but it is still unclear how this will all work in practice.

It seems yet another BMA policy document may not be worth the paper it is written on.


Snow heroes

Snow - blizzard - dedication - RF

Snow – blizzard – dedication – RF

Now, most has melted away, but the heavy snow fall last week did bring out the Blitz spirit in general practice.

Pulse was told of a practice manager getting up in the middle of the night to walk hours through the white stuff to get to work, while GPs and practice managers even slept in their practices to ensure smooth running of services. Elsewhere, a GP reportedly went to work on skis – although the heroic effort was futile as no one else could get to the surgery.

Still we salute all of you who trudged – or slalomed – through the snow to treat patients. Even if they could not get to you and were all requesting home visits.


Quote of the week

john ashworth 3x2 SUO

john ashworth 3×2 SUO

‘Some might call these “bribes”’

Labour’s health spokesperson does not mince its words on Pulse’s investigation into GP payments to reduce referrals


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