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Letter of the week: Sick patients don’t have a ‘plan B’ either

For some reason I found the photograph of Sir John Oldham on Pulse’s front page vaguely irritating.

GPs told, cut unplanned admissions by a fifth

He is clearly not in the agonies of low self esteem. No doubt he’ll do an excellent job promoting such a reduction, but if he succeeds GPs will take a pay cut.

My practice carried out a pilot study on reducing unplanned admissions, so I can anticipate the techniques that might be proposed. The workload has to be huge to make any impression and a 20% reduction is pie in the sky. Given that unplanned admissions are increasing, most practices would need another full-time GP just to maintain the status quo.

There will be talk of using community matrons, specialist nurses and admission prevention packages, but while these resources are excellent they are not usually instantly available and certainly not at weekends and on bank holidays.

We all know of patients who are repeatedly admitted as emergencies and one or two of these can annihilate practice statistics. If practices were funded properly, a reduction in unplanned admissions could be achieved – not of 20%, but enough to make a net saving and have tremendous benefit for patients. But that funding is unlikely – which means more GP workload for the same primary care bill.

From Dr Adrian Hutton
Mildenhall, Suffolk

GPs will be expected to cut unplanned admissions by a fifth