A CCG clinical leader has retracted his claim that ‘lazy’ GPs are to blame for exacerbating the pressures on A&E departments.
Dr Richard Page, head of unplanned care at North Staffordshire CCG and a GP himself, claimed in a board meeting on 3 July that GPs were guilty of being ‘lazy’ when referring their patients to the A&E department at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, despite other locations having been set up in the local community to offer the same treatment.
He said: ‘Some colleagues feel it is easier to get someone else to do the work for you at A&E – this is being lazy.’
However, he later withdrew his comments, saying: ‘I regret the way comments made at the CCG’s July governing body meeting have been reported. Local GPs are not lazy and this was certainly not the impression I wished to create. A lot of patient care has been moved out of hospital into the community which has been taken on by our local GPs, who are coping with a heavy workload. I was trying to draw attention to the important fact that there are excellent diagnostic facilities in the community for non-urgent investigations to which GPs have access.’
But the chair of North Staffordshire LMC, Dr Paul Scott, told Pulse he was ‘disappointed’ that there had hitherto been a silence from the CCG on the matter.
He said: ‘North Staffordshire LMC is disappointed with the CCG ‘lazy’ quote, disappointed with its context and disappointed with the CCG’s subsequent silence. GPs and their teams in North Staffordshire, like the rest of the UK, are struggling with the secondary to primary care workload shift, standard eleven hour days and the endlessly increasing administrative burden.
‘GPs spend more time and effort than ever before in caring for their patients and fulfilling their contractual obligations. Many have taken exception to the headline, have noted the CCG chair’s verbal apology and look forward to a more constructive relationship in future.’