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Pulse checker: GP telephony system will make waiting fun, says NHS England

Pulse checker: GP telephony system will make waiting fun, says NHS England

Pulse’s not-entirely-serious take on the month’s events

NHS England has promised that the new digital GP telephony systems announced in its recovery plan will provide patients with hours of fun and make the time spent on hold ‘simply fly by’.

The £240m funding for the new systems will include choose-your-own-adventure style games and will feature oral versions of popular apps, they said. 

An NHSE spokesperson told Pulse Checker: ‘For patients who choose to play our pirate game, they will be transported to 18th century Caribbean, pressing 1 on their keypad to visit Coconut Island, 2 to explore Shellfish Atoll or 3 to experience Davy Jones’ Locker!

‘They will also be able to play a voice-activated version of Candy Crush, with commands such as “move red candy up”. They’ll forget they are even waiting!’

When asked whether the new system will lead to easier access, the spokesperson said: ‘No, of course not, don’t be ridiculous. There is still no one to answer the calls.’

Ministers to fix workforce crisis with ‘er, AI or something, I guess’

The Government’s long-awaited workforce plan is set to conclude that the GP recruitment crisis is likely to be solved by ‘artificial intelligence, I guess’. 

Ministers have exhausted all their customary options for increasing GP numbers, from denigrating the profession to offering below-inflation funding uplifts. Even the usually dependable option of imposing a contract on general practice seems to have drawn a blank.

The clearly demoralised health secretary Steve Barclay confided to Pulse Checker: ‘We’re at a loss. We just don’t know what to do next. However, we remain hopeful that AI will come up trumps, or that someone develops sentient robots or something.

‘How hard is general practice anyway? I’m sure ChatGPT can do most of what they do. The clue is in the name after all.’ 

Sir Keir Starmer: ‘My vision of the family doctor’

The Labour leader has set out the party’s plan for the NHS, including general practice. Here he elaborates on ideas for different models for the ‘family doctor’ under a Labour government.
The grumpy family doctor: ‘Hardworking families tell me that they want to see a good old-fashioned grumpy-yet-kindhearted GP, who moves down to Cornwall and takes time to integrate into the community, eventually being welcomed in, despite being a bit of a misfit.’
The occasional family doctor: ‘For many hardworking families, they may want to see the East End GP, who pops up occasionally, sometimes in the laundrette, and local residents say “oh, I thought he was dead, glad to see he’s still around”.’
The good friend family doctor: ‘When I speak to hardworking families, they are clear that they want a family doctor who has an up-and-down relationship with his wife, preferably Australian, and who can bring a perfect blend to a neighbourhood.’
The adequately funded GP partner: ‘Nope, no hardworking family wants this.’ 

Numb3r Check

Rishi Sunak claims there are almost 2,000 (1,910) more full-time equivalent doctors practising in England now than in 2019. Some commentators said that this included non-fully qualified GPs. Now, Pulse Checker can reveal a full breakdown of those 1,910 doctors in general practice, as counted by the PM:

  • 1,432 GP trainees
  • 270 staff and associate specialists
  • 179 doctorates in general studies
  • 14 Doctor Whos
  • 8 cast members of Doctors
  • 6 pack of Dr Pepper
  • 1 Dr Fox

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Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

David Church 5 June, 2023 1:22 pm

I suspect quite a few GPs will be keen to offer a couple of self-chosen patients the ‘Davy Lones’ Locker experience’. I taje it they mean permanently?