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#GPnews: Unhealthy patients avoid doctors for ‘fear of finding out’, campaign warns

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English GPs set to vote on practice privatisation

GP to consider stopping out of hours work unless indemnity paid

15:50 A former health secretary is part of a campaign to tackle the common problem of patients avoiding doctors for ‘fear of finding out’ they are seriously ill.

The ‘Fear of Finding Out’ is more likely to affect those who have an unhealthy lifestyle and are either: smokers, heavy drinkers, have an unhealthy diet and/or are obese, according to campaigners.

Alan Milburn is one collaborator behind the initiative, alongside Professor Sir Muir Gray, founder of the National Library for Health and the first person to hold the post of chief knowledge officer of the NHS, and Dr Zoe Williams, a GP and an RCGP clinical champion for physical activity and lifestyle.

The campaign forms part of bio-pharmaceutical company AbbVie’s Live:Lab project, and will also see input from Aardman (creators of Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep.

The ‘Fear of Finding Out: Identifying Psychological Barriers to Diagnosis in the UK’ report can be read online here.

14:30 There is ‘no end in sight’ to the GP workforce crisis, according to a new report from think tank the Health Foundation.

The report said the situation could hamper NHS England plans for making the NHS on the whole more efficient to cope with funding challenges.

It said: ‘While the overall size of the NHS workforce increased between 2015/16 and 2016/17, the numbers of nurses (particularly in the community and mental health) and GPs have fallen. There is no immediate or easy end in sight to nursing or GP shortages across the NHS.

‘This is of particular concern given the importance of primary care and community health services for the NHS’s ambition to transform services as outlined in the Five Year Forward View.

Analysing data on GP workforce, the Health Foundation added: ‘Evidence suggests that in primary care, staff numbers are moving further away from the Government target of net growth of 5,000 more FTE doctors working in general practice by 2020, as set out in the General practice forward view published in 2016.

‘Since September 2015, the GP workforce (excluding locums) has seen a decline of 2.3% to 33,236 FTE (at the end of June 2017), and that number has fallen by 0.7% (227 FTE) since December 2016.’

12:20 A number of healthcare organisations, including royal colleges, have sent a joint ‘cry for help’ to the Treasury ahead of the Autumn Statement due 22 November asking the Chancellor to reconsider current spending plans for 2018/19 and 2019/20.

Coordinated by the NHS Confederation, the letter warns that unless more money is found for health and care, there will be further deterioration in what can be provided for NHS patients, social care users and their carers.

It says this comes as the the NHS Constitution is already being breached, with millions of patients facing unacceptable waits for treatment.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: ‘Ahead of the budget, this is a genuine cry for help from those who are responsible for health and care services.

‘The Government is understandably distracted by Brexit, but if it fails to address the points in this letter, there will be a political price, on top of the price already being paid by those who rely on these services.

‘Until now services have manged remarkably well given the growing pressures but as the Government’s own regulator has admitted these services are in a fragile state.’

09:50 The BMA has published the agenda for the England LMC conference, set to take place 10 November in London, and it has some juicy bits in it.

To mention a few motions: supporting practices who cannot function in NHS to go private, disengaging with the GP Forward View, as well as surveying GPs on quitting out of hours unless indemnity is funded.