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Winter is coming

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This week is notable for the first signs of the winter pressures hitting. I should, however, say literal winter pressures, because as the BMA continues to point out, winter pressures are all year round now.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in Dorset, where the ambulance trust has spent all its budget on fake winter pressures – in the summer – meaning it has had to cut GP shifts in the actual winter, where there are literal winter pressures.

We could put this down to poor management. But the fact is that all the emergency services are struggling with their budgets, and there is so far nothing to suggest that this winter (the literal one) will be any easier than last one.

And when emergency services fail, GPs are often left looking after patients beyond their capacity.

These could be the first flakes of an impending blizzard

At the same time, a number of GP practices are being forced to urgently seek replacement out-of-hours cover after the private company providing services on their behalf gave them just 10 days’ notice of ceasing operations.

We haven’t had a flu episode hit yet, but it looks unlikely we are ready for it.

I really hope that I am being unnecessarily negative, but I fear that Dorset may be the first flakes in an impending blizzard.

Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. You can follow him on Twitter @jkaffash




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