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13.00 Discussing how to get GPs on board with seven-day working

Dr Louise Warburton

I was woken in the semi-dawn at 5AM today by one of our cockerels crowing his heart out. With the clocks going forward this weekend, getting myself and everyone in the house up for work and school this morning was more of a struggle than usual.

But with an early start, it’s always a pleasure to get out in the grey half-light to walk the dogs and see what is happening in the real world!

This morning I worked in the musculoskeletal clinic as a GPSI in musculoskeletal problems and rheumatology.  I do this three days per week and the cases that I see to are just complex general practice problems, but I have the luxury of a 30-minute consultation, rather than ten minutes.

Because I have the time to sit down and explain everything to patients – I was able to come up with effective management plans for co-morbidities and complex problems. Today I was able to avoid requesting an MRI scan and wasting precious resources on patients simply because we had time to talk all the options through.

After lunch shared with staff from the eye clinic next door, I drove to the CCG headquarters to take up my other role as board member for NHS Telford and Wrekin CCG.

We are currently tackling the Better Care Fund and working out how to implement it locally. This afternoon has been spent in discussions with colleagues about how to present the concepts of smarter working within primary care to the GP forum. 

It is a difficult balancing act; allowing GPs more time to manage complex patients without referral and possibly increase the length of the working week to encompass seven-day working, all without extra resource.  It is not surprising that we hear voices of dissent.  It is a challenge for CCG GPs like myself to manage this unhappiness and unrest and turn it into something positive to take the process forward.  I also understand that this will be difficult in inner city areas and parts of the country where GPs are working in isolation. We are fortunate in Shropshire that we have a stable population of GPs who largely work together and support each other.

So the challenges go on; another working day will be starting soon.  Being a GP is a difficult job, but I wouldn’t change it for the world!