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Secret Diary: Dear Boris, Please Support your local GP!

Like many colleagues I have spoken to recently, I am appalled at what I think is the total incompetence that leads us to where we are today.

Our political parties have let us down. There is simply no leadership and no effective opposition, and I cannot understand how our civil service has allowed us to get into the mess we’re in today. Perhaps they, too, are also not fit for purpose?

As I write this, the NHS and the healthcare system itself are heading into crisis after crisis. As long as politicians keep quiet about the real reasons for these problems, then all of us in primary care­—as the first point of contact for patients—will continue to endure the public wrath. That’s just my opinion, of course. I’m hardly prone to some of the tin-hat conspiracies that we’ve heard recently, but I can only assume that the misinformation stoking the current issues is being put out to deliberately mislead the general public, painting us as the bad guys.

Flu vaccines

Apparently, notifications have been sent out to say some flu vaccine deliveries are delayed due to the shortage of lorry drivers and that firm dates cannot be met. I have not received such a notification yet, so assume I will get the promised delivery this week, for a clinic booked for next weekend.

I do not wholly blame the vaccine companies; the real culprits are the politicians and civil servants who should have ensured we had things in place post-Brexit. This could easily have been predicted (and I’m sure it was by many people), and emergency plans—bringing in the army to make deliveries, for example—should have been in place.

Never has the flu vaccine jab been more important than this year; patients are clamouring to get it and blaming surgeries when clinics are cancelled or delayed. This leads to more abuse directed at receptionists, whilst government and opposition keep their heads down.

Blood bottles

How have we got to a situation where we cannot do routine bloods due to a shortage of bottles?

It makes no sense! To blame this shortage on the use of bottles for Covid tests shows the utter ignorance of those in charge. Surely there is more than one supplier in the world? Even before Covid hit, having all your eggs in one basket is a foolhardy approach.

To ask clinicians to decide what is an urgent blood test (and only order those) puts the burden of risk on the clinicians. Most people seeing a GP with something out of the ordinary will get blood tests to rule out certain things, and it is a good starting point. I fear this will affect many people’s diagnoses and could, in some cases, be life-threatening.

Knowing the NHS, I am sure that somewhere in a warehouse will be thousands of bottles (probably unaccounted for).

Covid boosters

We’re now well into September and we still don’t know if there will be a booster for most people—or how, where and when it will be delivered.

The NHS said it could possibly be given at the same time as the flu jab (though if the delays with the flu vaccines occur, how likely is a successful roll-out?) It was never really a workable proposition to do both together based on paperwork and the time gap between the last Covid vaccine. Nevertheless, patients have been calling and demanding both, and (of course) the surgeries are blamed.

Covid study tests

These are also being delayed due to a lack of testing bottles. This will hamper the various tests taking place across the country as we seek to understand more about the virus and its long-term effects.

General

Surgeries as a whole are now feeling the effect of all these issues and 18 months of Covid-related problems and backlogs. In my opinion, primary care is not being protected but is instead blamed for almost everything.

Those in power don’t seem to have any concept of what it has been (and continues to be) like in primary care at the moment. In some respects, I feel sorry for the patients and I understand their anger, frustration, and even the thought (though misguided) that we have been closed throughout. Like most practices, we’re finding we are now busier than ever—demand is through the roof and the strain is showing across all staff groups. Recruiting has become extremely difficult.

We appear to have no national leadership or opposition, and we seem to be drifting from one crisis to another. If the government were to be inspected as we are by the CQC, they would be put into special measures or even closed down!

Whilst the politicians are happy to let primary care take the flack, we should be asking how many politicians have profited from contracts for their companies, or donors to their party. Did they really represent value for money? We only need to look at the PPE debacle for a case in point.

How much more can primary care take? Or is all this deliberate so that the NHS can be privatised, which seems to always be on the agenda? If we let this happen then the state of the nation will deteriorate further and once again it will be the poor and vulnerable that suffer the most.

The Secret Diary blog is written by Practice Managers who have chosen to remain anonymous. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of FPM Group


Comments

Jill 06/10/2021

Well said!


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