Waiting times in general practice is among the news making the headlines today. The Daily Mail reports on a study by researchers at the Imperial College in
London who found that patients who couldn't get a GP appointment within 48 hours were
more likely to be diagnosed following an emergency presentation at A&E. The study
published in the British Journal of Cancer which looked at 8,000 GP practices over the
course of three years found that cancer patients who were not able to see their GP straight away were more inclined to just ignore their symptoms and convince themselves they are not serious. Meanwhile patients whose practices were usually able to offer appointments within the next 48 hours were 30% less likely to be diagnosed with cancer at A&E. Sara Hiom, director of information at Cancer Research UK, said: ‘We know that in the UK we have an unacceptably high proportion of cancers being diagnosed via an emergency admission to hospital. The important message remains to go to your GP without delay if you have persistent symptoms or unusual bodily changes that worry you.'
It could be bad news for those patients turning up at A&E as the Telegraph reports that almost 67,000 patients admitted to emergency departments could not be seen for between four and 12 hours. Northampton General Hospital, Royal Free Hampstead, North Bristol and Wye Valley were among the institutions with poor records for
waiting times. Meanwhile in Scotland, more than 800 patients are waiting more than 12
hours for treatment which has more than doubled since 2008.
And if news of waiting times isn't worrying enough, the Daily Mail also reports that one in three new mothers who have just given birth may experience signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. According to Israeli scientists, symptoms include flashbacks to the labour, avoiding any discussion of the event or having physical reactions such as heart palpitations when it is mentioned, and reluctance to consider having another child. The Daily Mail reports around 10,000 women in the UK develop PTSD following childbirth and a further 200,000 may develop some of the symptoms.