Something other than Brexit

In recent days there has been a renewed and welcome focus in the national news about problems with NHS GP recruitment and retention, the increased demands on General Practice, and concerns how this affects the health and well-being of staff and patients. Although Spilsby Surgery has a decent complement of clinicians, we continue to experience a steady increase in what our patients need, and what other care providers expect of us.

“Primary care has to date been a poor relation to hospitals in the allocation of NHS funding, despite providing 90% of patient care”

Spilsby Surgery has for some time sought to explain the pressure on our finite resources to patients, politicians and those responsible for healthcare spending locally. Primary care has to date been a poor relation to hospitals in the allocation of NHS funding, despite providing 90% of patient care. Working with your Patient Participation Group, we look to make constructive suggestions to our patients on how to use the services available to you most effectively, and advise healthcare commissioners how services might be redesigned for your benefit. We thank those of you who work in partnership with us, but national, countywide and local changes have had only a small impact.

“On busy days, your duty doctor or nurse consultant here may have to deal with 120 requests for urgent care over and above our routine pre-booked appointments”

The ‘volume overload’ of General Practice, locally and nationally, is unsustainable and needs urgent remedy. It increases risks to patients and staff. Tried and trusted systems for safe working only offer limited protection to us all when too much care is squeezed into too small a service. Patients living in towns larger than Spilsby might vote with their feet and attend a Walk In Centre or hospital Urgent Care Centre. On busy days, your duty doctor or nurse consultant here may have to deal with 120 requests for urgent care over and above our routine pre-booked appointments. Our aspiration to complete one task before moving on to the next can come unstuck with an acutely sick patient, urgent interruption to help a colleague, or being on hold on the phone for 15 minutes waiting to speak to the hospital or to social services. We can’t eliminate multi-tasking, and multi-tasking fosters human error. For these reasons a senior member of the team may occasionally decide that we are simply too busy to ensure the safest possible care to every patient who wants to speak to the duty clinician. In that instance, our care navigation (reception) staff will advise you where best to seek prompt and appropriate care. Please be reassured that we will only take this course of action to ensure that all patients receive the safest possible care from ourselves and other care providers.

May 2019