Written evidence submitted by Dr J.Helen Myers (FGP0337)

Introduction: I am a 5 session GP partner, and have been with my practice for 25 years. We have 11 partners as well as salaried ANPs and nurses.

Primary care, led by GPs and nurses, is a comprehensive, responsive and economical way of providing healthcare to the masses. GPs provide continuity and holistic care, reducing healthcare costs and improving wellbeing.

As seen with the COVID crisis, a fast and efficient vaccination system was set up within weeks by the primary care teams. A big problem with primary care today is patient expectation.

An example of increasing expectations is women requesting HRT and wanting personalised care in the way of a private clinic.

GPs can assess and prescribe HRT but can't match the expectation of the patient who wishes a 30 minute consultation.

The nation needs to decide what general practice is there for. E.g. vaccinations, treatment of hypertension and diabetes etc.

For unknown reasons finances have generally been put into secondary care, which is expensive and often unnecessary. An example is of a patient going into A&E with abdominal pain who gets expensive investigations, rather than taking a history and deciding what is most likely.

There has been poor workforce planning, and I feel new doctors should expect their careers to be in primary care rather than treating specialising in treating the few.

When patients cannot access general practice they are likely to attend A&E where junior doctors are not equipped to treat them economically. This raises the costs of healthcare and decreases the experience of the patient who can get less localised care.

Continuity of care, I understand, has been proven to be of great benefit to the patient and the governments pocket.

The main challenges for general practise are insufficient workforce and patient expectation. I do not know how things vary regionally but perhaps lessons can be learned from good practise.

Prevention is an ideal, and this needs to be addressed by government not by general practice e.g. better education, good sports facilities and employment.

It is vital that bureaucracy is reduced in general practice. A GP or nurse can spend many hours on e.g. health and safety learning, manual handling and confidentiality. This could be learned every three years and not annually. As with GP appraisal.

MORE MAN POWER IS NEEDED.

LOWER PATIENT EXPECTATION

Successful practices should teach their models throughout the UK. (Private models, e.g. Virgin Health, provide very poor care)

Primary care networks have delivered few benefits, as they are bureaucratic and poorly thought out. (They do not apply to all areas of the country and require GP management input).

An effective partnership has been with pharmacists.                                                                      Dec 2021