GP News

RCGPNI responds to review of medical school places in Northern Ireland

"Professor Gardiner's report outlines the stark realities facing the medical workforce in Northern Ireland. GPs and colleagues from other professions have been facing workforce challenges for many years as a result of a lack of planning and the College urges the Department to heed these findings and act immediately.

"The GP workforce has been changing over time. There is an increasing preference for modern work patterns, involving more flexible working and portfolio careers that involve a mix of working across general practice, hospital settings and community care services. We need to ensure we can meet the needs of both patients and professionals and having a sufficient stream of medical students and trainees across the various primary care professions is a key component of delivering this. 

"We know we currently do not have enough full-time equivalent GPs in NI working solely in primary care and that we will need even more GPs to meet patient need, as people live for longer with more chronic conditions. These complex conditions are best managed in primary care, providing general practice is properly resourced, staffed and supported and there is adequate space to host GP teams in fit-for-purpose buildings. Crucially, we need more medical students and need to ensure there is sufficient capacity to train and educate students, trainees and staff. We simply cannot transform our health services without these fundamental issues in primary care being addressed.

"Retention is a vital element of workforce stability; not only in doing more to decrease the number of students and trainees who leave NI to study, train and work elsewhere, but to retain the skills of our older colleagues who are considering retirement. Almost one quarter of GPs in NI are aged 55 and over, and we must do what we can to encourage them to stay within health and social care for as long as possible, so we do not lose their expertise.

"The figures in the medical school numbers report highlight the falling number of Foundation Doctors who enter directly into specialty training and this must be accounted for in workforce planning for the future. While RCGPNI welcomed the increase in GP training places to 111 per year, places are not being filled and recruiting into specialty training must remain a priority. 

"We also know that increasing training places is not enough in isolation to address GP workforce needs and we are pleased to see local and overseas recruitment campaigns acknowledged as a part of this solution. The College has been urging the Department to invest in a programme to attract people to live, work and train in Northern Ireland and the value of this has been recognised. We urge the Department to expedite robust plans for this work urgently. 

"The Department of Health's response to the review of medical school places once again highlights how the political stalemate continues to thwart some of the essential elements of healthcare transformation and it is clear that more must be done to prepare for the future and support the current struggling workforce. Last year, the HSC Workforce Strategy was published and the recommendations from today's report mainly lie within its remit. To date, there has been minimal transparency around the development of any action plans for taking this Strategy forward and we call on the Department to urgently put plans in place to address the serious challenges we are facing."
 
Categories: GP News

£4.5bn primary care funding will relieve pressure on GPs, promises Hancock

Practice Business News from Pulse Today - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 09:02
Exclusive The extra £4.5bn funding boost to primary care will be used to relieve pressure on GPs rather than introducing new services, health secretary Matt Hancock has promised.
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New £4.5bn primary care funding will relieve pressure on GPs, promises Hancock

Practice Business News from Pulse Today - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 09:02
Exclusive The extra £4.5bn funding boost to primary care will be used to relieve pressure on GPs rather than introducing new services, health secretary Matt Hancock has promised.
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CCGs told they must set up primary care networks by end of June

Practice Business News from Pulse Today - Fri, 01/11/2019 - 17:13
CCGs have been told to ensure that the new primary care networks, which all GP practices will be mandated to join, are in place by 30 June at the latest.
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Pilot primary care network 'freed up 3,000 appointments'

Practice Business News from Pulse Today - Fri, 01/11/2019 - 11:10
GP practices in Luton working together in a primary care network have saved 3,000 appointments and £50,000, according to NHS England.
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Missed appointments can indicate something is wrong, says College

She said: "Patients with long-term conditions need regular monitoring and treatment and advice tailored to their unique health needs, so missing appointments and not being able to access that support has the potential to have a devastating impact on their wellbeing.
 
"People miss appointments for a range of reasons, but this study highlights why it's more important to show compassion to people who fail to attend, rather than punishing them - for some, life gets in the way and they forget, but others might not turn up precisely because of their health issue.
 
"As this research has demonstrated, this particularly applies to patients with mental health conditions. 
 
"It can take a huge amount of courage to ask for help when living with a mental health problem, and for some people, social anxiety or simply not feeling strong enough to leave the house could be reasons why they then don't make it to their appointment.
 
"GPs try to be extremely sensitive to this and will attempt to chase up those they are particularly concerned about, but some patients will be living with a mental health issue that the GP is not aware of and so the risk heightens.
 
"We need systems in place to better accommodate for these situations and the starting point is having more mental health therapists based in primary care, where the majority of mental health issues are identified and managed.
 
"Ultimately, we need substantially more investment in general practice across the board. NHS England's GP Forward View promises an extra £2.5bn a year for general practice, and the NHS Long Term Plan announced this week guarantees that our profession will receive a significant share of the funding outlined for primary and community care. We need these pledges turned into a reality as a matter of urgency so that we have sufficient numbers of GPs and the wider practice team to give all our patients the care they need and deserve."
Categories: GP News

No target date for recruiting 5,000 extra GPs, says health secretary

Practice Business News from Pulse Today - Fri, 01/11/2019 - 00:01
Exclusive Health secretary Matt Hancock has not set a new date for when the Government should meet its target of adding 5,000 more GPs in the workforce, Pulse has learned.
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GP practices must have 'level playing field' with Babylon, says Hancock

Practice Business News from Pulse Today - Fri, 01/11/2019 - 00:01
Exclusive There must be a 'genuine level playing field' for GP practices competing with Babylon GP at Hand, the health secretary has said.
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CQC appoints new chief inspector of general practice

Practice Business News from Pulse Today - Thu, 01/10/2019 - 10:53
The CQC has appointed Somerset GP Dr Rosie Benneyworth as its new chief inspector of primary medical services and integrated care.
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Little evidence to support move to large-scale general practice, say researchers

Practice Business News from Pulse Today - Thu, 01/10/2019 - 09:24
There is little evidence to suggest that larger GP practices boost clinical outcomes or save money, researchers have warned.
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‘Person-focused’ GP consultations may reduce frequent attendance

Practice Business News from Pulse Today - Wed, 01/09/2019 - 14:36
Training GPs to ask person-focused questions in appointments could empower frequent attenders, reducing the need for regular consultations and saving money, a study has found.
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Patient in GP crossbow attack found guilty of attempted murder

Practice Business News from Pulse Today - Wed, 01/09/2019 - 14:31
A patient who burst into a GP’s consultation room and shot him with a crossbow has been found guilty of attempted murder.
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HRT study 'interesting' but shows association not causation and patients shouldn't panic, says RCGP

She said: "The menopause is a transition stage for every woman and can cause difficulties for many – and for some specific symptoms, such as hot flushes and night sweats, HRT is the only medical treatment that has good evidence of benefit. "While this study is certainly interesting and important, as the authors themselves acknowledge, the findings do not prove that tablets cause more DVTs than patches, just that there is an association. As such, it is essential that more research is conducted in this area and taken into account as new clinical guidelines are updated and developed. "Prescribing is a core skill for GPs and current best practice is to prescribe the lowest possible dose of HRT for the shortest possible time, and so specific products and formulations of HRT are only initiated after a comprehensive discussion between the GP and their patient, and are tailored to meet the best interests of that individual. "It's important that patients don't panic or stop taking HRT as a result of reading about this study, but instead discuss their concerns at their next routine GP appointment, or seek advice from a reputable website like NHS Choices."
Categories: GP News

Funding needed to ensure GP premises are fit for all patients, says RCGP

She said: "It's extremely useful for GPs and our teams to get feedback from patients about their experiences of general practice – good or bad, it is central to helping us improve the care we can deliver. "One issue that both GPs and patients have been voicing for some time now, and which is reiterated in this report, is the need to invest in GP premises to ensure they are easily accessible for patients with all sorts of disability and limitations - and this has become increasingly apparent with our growing and ageing population as more and more people live with multiple, chronic conditions and rely on regular visits to their local surgery to receive the care they need. "Some practices are able to work around or make modest changes to overcome issues with their premises, but often the severe lack of resources across primary care has meant that many are functioning without essential structural improvements that could positively impact patients' experiences of a practice. "The same applies to concerns highlighted in the report about patient confidentiality at GP reception desks, which can sometimes become overcrowded due to waiting areas that are too small or have poor acoustics and don't lend themselves to the privacy that patients expect and deserve. "We understand that for some patients, discussion of their appointment with anyone other than their GP can make them uncomfortable – but we would like to assure them that GP receptionists are highly-trained members of the practice team and any questions they do ask patients questions about their health will be to ensure their visit to the surgery runs as smoothly as possible, and they will always strive to treat patient data as sensitively as possible. "It's essential, particularly as patient demand grows, that these issues are rectified with better investment in general practice; issues that can have almost as much impact on patient care as ensuring surgeries are equipped with the right clinicians, medicines, and follow-up services.  "That's why we need to see NHS England's GP Forward View, which promises an extra £2.5bn a year for general practice, delivered, in full, as soon as possible, along with guarantees that general practice will receive a significant share of the funding for primary and community care outlined in the NHS Long-Term Plan."
Categories: GP News

GP suffers crossbow bolt wound in assault by disgruntled patient

Practice Business News from Pulse Today - Tue, 01/08/2019 - 17:14
A doctor was in his consultation room writing up his notes when a patient came in armed with a crossbow and fired a bolt into his stomach, a court heard last week.
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CQC to mark practices based on how 'carer friendly' they are

Practice Business News from Pulse Today - Tue, 01/08/2019 - 15:33
The CQC will assess GP practices on their ability to support carers, under guidelines laid out in the NHS long-term plan.
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NHS 111 to book GP appointments directly starting this year

Practice Business News from Pulse Today - Mon, 01/07/2019 - 14:19
NHS 111 staff will be able to book GP appointments directly under changes outlined in the NHS long-term plan.
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GPs to be offered 'shared savings' from cutting A&E attendance

Practice Business News from Pulse Today - Mon, 01/07/2019 - 14:12
GPs working within primary care networks will be able to take part in a ‘shared savings’ scheme that will allow them to ‘benefit’ from efforts to reduce avoidable A&E attendances, admissions and delayed discharge.
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Digital GP providers will 'help expand GP workforce', says Government

Practice Business News from Pulse Today - Mon, 01/07/2019 - 13:57
Primary care networks will be the key to recruiting more staff to work in general practice, the Government’s NHS long-term plan has said.
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New GP contract to mandate practices to join primary care networks

Practice Business News from Pulse Today - Mon, 01/07/2019 - 13:13
Exclusive GP practices in England can expect changes to their contract from April mandating them to join networks of 30-50,000 patients in return for a major funding boost, Pulse has learned.
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