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Second Opinion: GPs to assess patients in groups of 15?

Have you ever read an article and then gone to check that the date is not April 1? Well I have recently, as some of the articles I’ve seen have left me incredulous to say the least.

 

In this weekend’s papers and on the TV news we saw the headline ‘GPs are to see patients in groups of 15’. Apparently, this has been trialled across the country with some success and has been judged as having many benefits.

Apparently, patients with the same conditions will meet with either a facilitator, a receptionist or a healthcare worker so they can all discuss their symptoms before spending two minutes with their GP. 

Now I know they are probably talking about the likes of asthma and hypertension, but really - is this feasible and is it what patients want?

How many practices have the room, the organisation and the skill set to run such clinics?

Of course, there will be some people who see it as a morning out and will enjoy the experience but I strongly believe the majority of people wish to be seen in a confidential environment.

Can you imagine if this rolled out for other common illnesses? Are practices going to have a constipation day, a piles day, STD day? Are these going to be advertised on the practice website?

Can you imagine sitting in the waiting room, only to hear booming over the tannoy: “Everyone with cancer to room one, everyone with depression to room two and everyone with erectile dysfunction to room four, next to the gents”? It just makes no sense. I might be making light of it, but is this really the way forward?

Of course, there are patients who would be only too happy to tell all and sundry about their conditions, but I would suggest that most of us really want to have a one-to-one with their GP or nurse.  I know I do and I think this initiative is doomed to failure.

Stay tuned to the FPM Blog for all of the latest news that matters most to Practice Managers. You can learn more about group consultations via NHSE by clicking here. Don’t forget to share your views in the comment section.

Edited October 11 by First Practice Management


Comments

First Practice Management 11/10/2018

We really appreciate our readers reaching out to us on this – the tone here was designed to be a light-hearted response to one of the more interesting stories around at the moment. The writer is of course entitled to their opinion on the subject, which doesn't necessarily represent the viewpoint of FPM. In the future we'll work to make that clearer. In the meantime, we always welcome responses and feedback that provide further context and different takes on the big issues around primary care. Thank you for reading and opening up the conversation!

RICHARD JARMAN 10/10/2018

There is considerable evidence, including peer reviews, which has identified group consultations (also known as shared medical appointments) as a significant factor in providing improved care for patients (including where relevant their carers) across a broad spectrum of conditions, often LTC and in particular where social cultural considerations (Type 2 Diabetes in the female Asian Community) have not been effective The NHS Alliance and Health Education England have issued discussion documents on this concept and there are too numerous international examples where shared appointments are demonstrating improved patient outcomes and more effective use of finite clinical resources I think FPM should be active in helping practice managers absorb these clinical developments, rather than , as I’m afraid your author does, rush to easy judgement of scenarios which were not included in the most recent thinking which emerged from the RCGP conference, which is based on sound evidence and numerous example of good practice

SB 10/10/2018

This article is something I'd expect to read as a knee-jerk editorial in the Daily Mail, not on a website for professional managers. It's biased and ill-informed, and just plain wrong in most points. The author has clearly done zero research, and it's no wonder it's anonymous. Group consultations is a clearly structured and well-evidenced approach, which can certainly be done by existing practice staff/clinicians, with suitable training. Patients and staff love it. The outcomes are better than the traditional approach, with better efficiency. https://www.gponline.com/group-consultations-reduce-demand-improve-efficiency-gps/article/1495187 https://www.nhsalliance.org/making-time-in-general-practice/appendix-4/


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