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Consultations from the afterlife

jaimie kaffash 2 duo 3x2

jaimie kaffash 2 duo 3×2

There are three certain things in life: death, taxes, and health care managers coming up with ridiculous schemes. Commissioners in Cornwall have combined two of these certainties by asking single-handed GPs to make contingency plans in the case of their death.

To paraphrase one commenter, we look forward to the proliferation of NHS England’s ‘Ouija board consultation’ pilots – after all, they’re only slightly less evidence-based than e-consultations.

But there is a serious point here: surely it is up to commissioners, not GPs, to ensure that the local health economy can withstand disruption?

Too often, commissioners are outsourcing the responsibility to GPs – expecting the soon-to-be departed to spend their final waking breaths ensuring their patients know where to get their repeat prescription is just the most extreme example.

How about the GPs who are unable to close their lists – even when they are warning that they are putting patient safety at risk if they keep them open? Or the now-common winter warnings for GPs to refrain from referring patients to avoid putting secondary care under too much strain?

Of course, commissioners face their own pressures. But implementing contingency plans for the death of a GP, a practice having to close their list, or patients needing to use secondary care services in winter must be close to the top of their to-do lists, surely?

It’s enough to send us all to an early grave.