Written evidence submitted by Anonymous (FGP0145)

 

I am writing as a GP partner the practice with that approximately 8000 patients.

 

It seems to me the main barriers to accessing general practice are an excess of demand from an ageing population, more and more workload being placed on GPs and no increased numbers of GPs to cover this workload.

 

The impact when patients are unable to access general practice using their preferred method is that patients either do not manage to make contact with their GP causing health inequalities or seek support through other avenues such as out of hour services and accident and emergency services, placing additional burden on them. Hard to accessible service, so I believe there are likely significant geographical variations in how much of a problem this is. Certainly the media has focused on this and general practitioners around the country has felt subjected to persistent negative press coverage.

 

Having a named GP is ideal for continuity of care but we know that this is becoming harder and harder as GPs are feeling more and more overworked and actually tending to work fewer days of the week and in previous decades.

 

The main challenges facing general practice in the next 5 years are maintaining the current workforce and trying to incorporate other allied health professionals to spread the burden of the workload.

 

Regarding the prevention agenda, general practice has only a limited role to play. The prevention agenda should be primarily driven by population policies such as those that have proven so effective in reducing smoking rates compared with previously decades of GPs trying to reduce smoking rates without great success. Population policies should include taxes on unhealthy foods, subsidies on healthy foods, reduced investment in unhealthy forms of transport such as cars and increase investment in healthy forms of transport such as walking and cycling.

 

To reduce bureaucracy and burn out of GPs, there should be rules advising against GPs being able to prescribe medications available over-the-counter and less patients are on financial benefits or similar that means they get free prescriptions. This would reduce the number of patient contacts regarding medication that can be obtained without contacting a GP.

 

Pharmacists should be empowered to provide a prescription for a similar medication when a prescriber prescribes a medication that is out of stock. At present the prescription in this case is bounced back to the GP to prescribe an alternative when the pharmacist could quite easily do that without going back the GP about it.

 

GPs spend a lot of time writing letters and filling out forms and sometimes feels that for any problems on may have they are asked to ’get a letter from your GP.’

 

The partnership model of general practice has proven sustainable for decades and provides a excellent and financially cost-effective service so this model should be supported. It would be sustainable if becoming up GP partner were more attractive and this includes reducing potential liabilities financially on GPs were practices to run into financial difficulties

 

The current contracting payment systems in general practice encourages regular reviews of certain patient groups although it does feel somewhat tick box exercise at times

 

The development of primary care networks (PCNs) has locally proven effective in coordinating care for patients with symptoms of COVID who were kept away from their own GP practice by being offered an alternative location that they can be assessed. The COVID vaccine program locally has also been effectively coordinated as a PCN.

 

Our Primary Care Network locally has not significantly improved the delivery of proactive, personalise and coordinated integrated care in other areas such as chronic disease management, administrative burden on GPs. This is despite us having a motivated and well coordinated team leading our PCN.

 

General practice has struggled at times to work on effective partnership with other professions because the other professions may not feel part of the existing primary care team and therefore it may be a struggle for them to feel job satisfaction or a sense of ownership of our patient population.

 

Dec 2021