- Posted Wednesday August 29, 2018
They say that the summer months are a quiet period for news and views, so the media have to turn to other sources to get their headlines - this year it appears to be a full attack on doctors and surgeries.
When you tie in to recent articles on FPM, is it any wonder that many of us managers are under stress?
Let me explain, a significant proportion of people believe everything they are told, and then they vent their anger on other people.
Doctors’ Working Hours
One of the statements put out recently is that GPs only work 3.5 days a week and, from what we are told, that is why we are short of doctors.
It looks bad, doesn’t it - if we believe it… So where is any response from the BMA or GMC? They seem very quiet.
Seeing patients is only part of the job for doctors, they also have to be unpaid social workers. Add to that they then need to do mounds of paperwork, even though we are meant to be paperless.
Then they need to keep their learning up to date, as well as attend numerous meetings which are invariably run in surgery hours. Add to that the job of keeping the surgery up and running.
Is it any wonder that patients moan about access when they see these headlines, then vent their anger on reception staff? Wouldn’t dare say it to a doctor, would they!
Very quietly over the bank holiday weekend there have been stories of that old chestnut of ghost patients rearing its ugly head.
When Capita took over the delivery and recall of medical notes a couple of years ago they said that anybody not having seen a doctor within the last five years would be removed from a surgery’s list. There was an outcry, although nothing much happened at that time.
I actually wrote in an article at that time, and repeat here, that doing so will create immense problems for both patients and surgeries alike.
Whilst we all have frequent attenders, we also have patients that are not, and so if they are removed after a gap of five years what is going to happen when they need to see the doctor? They will be told that they need to re-register. That may cause delays in getting historical notes and cause anxiety unnecessarily. If the surgery’s list is closed due to capacity, that will cause huge upset and untold problems.
Yes, I am sure we all have so-called ‘ghost patients’, but in some ways they fund the frequent attenders.
More importantly, if the way Capita currently handle the removal and deduction of patients is anything to go by then we can expect a botch-up of any changes contemplated.
As a surgery we are waiting for over 150 sets of notes going back several months to come in, and are also waiting for nearly 200 labels for notes that again go back many months.
We already have a weighted list size like many other surgeries and so we actually treat close to 1,000 patients for nothing. Tell me is that fair or not?
If they decide to adopt the policy of ‘five years not seen means removal’, then they must pay practices for their full list size.
There has been much talk of trying to do away with smaller one or two-handed practices, at it‘s thought that the larger ‘super practices’ are the way forward.
I have worked in both types and see the merit of both.
Clearly smaller practices have a role today as they deliver services too the local population, whereas super practices will extend the area they cover and can mean patients have to travel further. For the elderly and infirm, it is going to be difficult.
Whilst larger practices may be able to offer more services, the personal touch is missing and the likelihood of a good doctor-patient relationship is lessened.
It is a fact however that funding into smaller practices is less than into larger practices, which is unfair.
We all need to be watching and listening to these announcements, as if some of the ideas go through they will alter the shape of GP surgeries - and not for the better in my view.
Stay tuned to the FPM Blog for the latest stories that matter most to practice managers.