Government faces fierce opposition from BMA over plans to enforce 7 day working
The Government’s manifesto pledge to require GPs to provide 7 day a week access and to increase the number of consultants working at weekends has sparked a furious reaction from the medical profession.
The BMA’s Dr Mark Porter castigated the scheme, saying that doctors would be spread too thinly if the scheme were introduced:
“When the NHS is on probably the single most relentless drive for efficiencies it has ever been on, I would question whether it is actually a productive use of resources to put GPs practice resource into seeing patients at the weekend when relatively few want to turn up.”
Meanwhile junior doctors launched a twitter campaign, tweeting pictures of themselves working extraordinarily long hours under the hashtag #ImInworkJeremy.
One in four GPs is now a locum – 09.06.2015
Figures obtained by the Times have revealed that one in four GPs is now a locum as family doctors abandon full-time jobs for less stressful work. The National Association of Sessional GPs, which represents locums, said that with doctors squeezing in millions more appointments, many were put off running their own practices. The organisation found that of the 60,630 doctors registered as GPs with the General Medical Council, only 43,440 are accounted for on permanent staff rolls, leaving 17,190 thought to be working as locums, up from 15,500 in 2008.
Seven-day GP trial fails to attract patients – 12.06.2015
Weekend GP appointments have been dropped in one of the areas piloting them, following a low uptake among patients. Only half of the Saturday slots were taken up in Yorkshire surgeries testing out-of-hours care, and barely one in ten Sunday appointments were filled. The pilot scheme is part of the Challenge Fund which was announced in October 2013 to help improve access to general practice
GPs call for a halt to CQC inspections – 24.06.15
GP leaders have called for an “emergency pause” in CQC inspections to relieve pressure on overworked surgeries. The Royal College of GPs (RCGP) has written to the health secretary asking for a halt to inspections so that GPs can better manage their workload and concentrate on patient care. Jeremy Hunt and the CQC have both rejected the idea. The College has also called for an urgent review of CQC inspections and processes.
£15m pharmacists plan launched to ease GP workload – 08.07.15
Up to 300 clinical pharmacists are expected to be recruited and employed in GP surgeries to provide direct patient care and to ease the workload of doctors, as part of a new £15m scheme launched by NHS England. The three-year pilot project for England will see pharmacists support around a million patients with self-limiting illnesses or long-term conditions. The scheme, which will launch later this year, will focus on areas of greatest need where GPs are under greatest pressure, and aims to build on the success of GP practices already employing pharmacists in patient-facing roles.
Care inspections falling behind – 23.07.2015
A report by the National Audit Office suggests older people in care homes are still at risk from abuse and neglect because the Care Quality Commission has not recruited enough staff to carry out Ofsted-style inspections. It found that just 9% of care homes have so far been assessed, because of a shortfall of 160 inspectors.
Exhausted GPs put patient safety at risk – 29.07.15
Overworked GPs may be threatening the health of patients on a ‘widespread scale’, according to the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).
Regulators are unfit for purpose – 06.08.2015
A report from the Professional Standards Authority has found that healthcare regulators in the UK are largely ineffective and cost around £600m a year to run. The report said the regulatory framework for health and care is out of date, over-complicated, too expensive, and is rapidly becoming unfit for purpose. Professional Standards Authority CEO Harry Cayton said: “Every part of our health and care system is changing in order to meet future needs. If patients are to benefit, regulation must undergo radical change too.”
End-of-life care concerns – 13.08.2015
A report from the Care Quality Commission has found that almost half of hospitals risk causing harm or unnecessary suffering to dying patients. Fifty of the 105 English hospitals inspected by the CQC between 2013 and 2015 were found to be failing in terms of patient safety. The findings included hospitals where the terminally ill were referred to by bed numbers instead of their names and clinicians issued ‘do not resuscitate’ orders without informing their patients.
Rethink on housing the elderly called for – 17.08.2015
A new study by the International Longevity Centre has added weight to calls for a radical rethink of housing provision for older people to meet the needs of an ageing population. The think-tank suggests that replacing traditional institutional care homes with US-style retirement communities could help the elderly deal with loneliness and isolation. Nick Sanderson, chief executive of Audley Retirement Villages, said: “No one wants to be in a care home, and very few should need to go down that route. The ILC report corroborates our belief that the quality of life in extra care accommodation far exceeds what is possible in a care home.”
Doctors face sanctions for mis-prescribing antibiotics – 18.08.2015
New guidelines to be issued by NICE could see doctors struck off for prescribing antibiotics unnecessarily. The move comes as fears over increased resistance to antibiotics rise while patients are accused of being “addicted to the idea of having antibiotics”. Nationally, 41.6m antibiotic prescriptions were issued in 2013-14, at a cost to the NHS of £192m. However, 25% of them are likely to have been inappropriate or unnecessary.
Care Homes face closure for employing illegal immigrants – 25.08.2015
The Government has announced that businesses employing illegal immigrants face temporary closure while foreigners with no legal right to work could be sentenced to six months in prison and hit with an unlimited fine. Late-night takeaway shops and alcohol stores will face having their licences to sell food and alcohol revoked. Announcing the measures to be laid out in the immigration bill, immigration minister James Brokenshire said: “Illegal workers will face the prospect of a prison term and rogue employers could have their businesses closed, have their licences removed, or face prosecution if they continue to flout the law.” The announcement comes as the government launches Operation Magnify, which will target illegal working in the building and care home sectors.