As chair of Urgent Health UK, Dr Abrams has his hands full with the recruitment problems in out-of-hours services. The BMA declared this year that GP staffing for these services in Wales had reached ‘crisis point’ after continued announcements of weekend out-of-hours services being cancelled.
Meanwhile, GPs were left in the lurch when Primecare gave just 10 days’ notice to more than 20 practices for which it directly provided out-of-hours cover that it would be ceasing its services.
But there have been small steps towards alleviating the problems. Out-of-hours doctors were hit harder than anyone by high indemnity fees, and Dr Abrams has lobbied for the state indemnity scheme as part of a resolution for urgent care GP work for years and this year, he worked tirelessly to make sure it was implemented by 1 April, which he says has been a ‘tremendous success for general practice and for urgent care providers.’
‘We have been banging the drum as loud as anyone else. So the announcement felt like a major achievement,’ he says.
The Liverpool GP says the next thing on the cards for him is the annual Urgent Health UK conference.
Additionally, he says: ‘On the subject of what we are working on, we have started some very interesting work with an academic health improvement unit. The ideas are great and it has been re-invigorating seeing how they could apply to our sector. We are looking forward to seeing how they might change and improve urgent care providers.’
Why influential: Up all hours striving for higher standards of out-of-hours care
What others say: According to his senior receptionist: ‘I used to be a patient in the practice and he is very compassionate but as an employer he drives me crazy as he is a perfectionist when it comes to details.’
Random fact: ‘One of my retirement ambitions is to train as a story teller’