From: T Copperfield
To: All ambulance services
Subject: Emergency preparedness, resilience and response
General practice services are experiencing unprecedented pressure, which means GPs are struggling to cope with workload within the timeframe demanded by patients (ie by yesterday).
Please could you make every effort:
– To advise all patients you encounter that calling the GP is the absolute last resort for all parties.
– To proactively approach patients who might be at risk of requiring primary care services to help them access alternative help. We’d suggest you simply drive up and down the streets playing a jingle, like the ice cream man, and escort all takers to A&E.
– To telephone particularly vulnerable patients at half hourly intervals to ask if they’d like an ambulance.
– To pop in during your lunch hour on those you’ve recently brought home to check that they’re okay, and, in particular, that they’re not just about to call their GP. If this is the case, mobilise all necessary services but disconnect their phone.
The public message we’re sending out via Twitter, social media sites and websites is as follows: ‘
‘GP services are too precious to be dealing with the likes of you. Use the ambulance services instead – it’s not like they’re busy. Give them a ring, even if you just need a lift home from the pub. They’re bored and lonely, you’d be doing them a favour. Go on. Keep GP services for those who really need them, like people with a hacking cough or ear wax.’
Dr Tony Copperfield
Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield.