GPs ‘out-and-out REJECT’ No10’s £250million plan to get patients more face-to-face appointments as union warns it could trigger wave of doctors retiring

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  • 93% of gram panchayats said Sajid Javid’s nine-point plan is an ‘unacceptable response’
  • British Medical Association says doctors can leave jobs in their group
  • Health secretary’s plan empowers patients to demand individual GP visits

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GPs have ‘out-and-out’ rejected No10’s £250million proposals to give patients more face-to-face appointments.

Nine out of ten family doctors asked by a medical union claimed that Sajid Javid’s plan to increase personal visits was an ‘unacceptable response to the current crisis’.

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Last week the health secretary unveiled a nine-point revolution to ensure that all patients can see their doctor in person.

Village panchayats were told they could refuse face-to-face consultations only if there were good clinical reasons and practices were given additional funding to take on more staff. Surgeries that fail to improve access will also be ‘named and shamed’.

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Patient groups supported the move, saying doctors had ignored patients’ wishes for too long in this case.

But the British Medical Association argued today that its survey of 3,500 GPs shows doctors think the harsher proposals will ‘increase workload and bureaucracy’ and reduce overall appointments.

It warned that GPs were already leaving the profession in their lap – and that more will continue to do so if measures are extended.

The union said it would meet later this week and discuss what steps it would take next.

Doctors are already going against Mr Javid’s orders to see more patients in person, with hundreds of GPs told to ‘ignore’ the guidelines.

Last week the health secretary announced plans to empower patients to demand a face-to-face appointment with their family doctor

The British Medical Association claimed today that GPs ‘out-and-out’ rejected Sajid Javid’s (in today’s photo, right) a £250 million plan to give patients face-to-face appointments. Image left: Dr Richard Voutray, BMA GP Committee England chair

The number of face-to-face GP appointments declined at the start of the pandemic when surgeries were asked to remotely see patients where possible.  But despite normalcy at large in the country, in-person visits have yet to climb to pre-pandemic levels.  The above graph shows the number of face-to-face GP appointments (red line) from the end of 2019 to the month

The number of face-to-face GP appointments declined at the start of the pandemic when surgeries were asked to remotely see patients where possible. But despite normalcy at large in the country, in-person visits have yet to climb to pre-pandemic levels. The above graph shows the number of face-to-face GP appointments (red line) from the end of 2019 to the month

NHS leaders say children should be taught how to treat their illnesses instead of going to GPs to reduce pressure on family doctors

NHS officials say children should be taught how to treat illnesses themselves in an effort to reduce GP workloads.

Family doctors have complained about unnecessary paperwork and admin as well as patient visits, which can be dealt with at home or by a pharmacist.

Now health chiefs have issued a series of nine recommendations that they say could prevent unnecessary GP and A&E visits.

One includes the ‘Dr Me’ programme, in which children are given an hour-long lesson by medical students on self-care techniques and ‘appropriate use of NHS services’ for problems such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Under this scheme, youth are given six health-related scenarios and then asked whether they should stay at home, visit a GP or attend A&E.

The authors of the report, which includes the NHS Clinical Commission, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, say this will help free up health professionals’ time.

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It came as the head of the NHS said there was no ‘set number’ for how many face-to-face appointments GPs should provide. Amanda Pritchard said many patients prefer face-to-face appointments, but others found it more convenient to call the GP.

Data shows that 58 per cent of patients in England were seen face-to-face in August, compared to more than 80 per cent of patients seen face-to-face before the pandemic.

BMA poll asked GP: ‘Do you think the package is an acceptable response to the current challenges in general practice?’

Ninety-nine percent said it was not.

Dr Richard Voutray, chairman of the BMA’s GP Committee England, said: ‘This shows the profession has rejected this setback to the government and NHS England’s plan.

‘If the health secretary feels that surgery this winter is enough to provide a lifeline, then abandon normal practice in the long term, this response shows how wrong he is.

‘The BMA provided the health secretary with a clear plan to help address the crisis in the short term, which could improve patient access and guarantee safe, high quality care, while also advancing long-term solutions can.

‘They chose to ignore it and instead we have a shameful plan that has failed before it even started. These survey results show how angry and desperate the gram panchayats are.

Mr Javid met the BMA on 23 September for an ’emergency’ meeting in which the doctors called for ‘clear public support for the GP’.

A week before the announcement a separate survey of more than 6,000 GPs in England found that two-thirds (66 per cent) of respondents were prepared to reduce their hours to protect themselves from the current crisis.

More than half (54 per cent) said they would consider leaving the NHS all at once if the government did not provide them with the support they needed.

Over the past decade, the average number of sessions GPs work a day has decreased while their pay increases have increased.  In 2012 the average GP worked 7.3 sessions a week, but this has now fallen to 6.6 per week, which is equivalent to three days of work a week.  Average GP income increased by over £6,000 over the same period.  A GP's daily work is divided into sessions.  According to the NHS, a full-time GP works 8 sessions a week, composed of two sessions a day, typically starting at 8am and ending at 6.30pm, although these hours can vary .

Over the past decade, the average number of sessions GPs work a day has decreased while their pay increases have increased. In 2012 the average GP worked 7.3 sessions a week, but this has now dropped to 6.6 per week, which equates to only three days of work a week. Average GP income increased by over £6,000 over the same period. A GP’s daily work is divided into sessions. According to the NHS, a full-time GP works 8 sessions a week, composed of two sessions a day, typically starting at 8am and ending at 6.30pm, although these hours can vary .

NHS digital data shows in Bury, Greater Manchester, patients saw just a third (36 per cent) of the doctor in July.  Patients in North East Lincolnshire and Lincolnshire were placed through another staff member two-thirds of the time.  Doctors in North East Essex, Portsmouth, Kirklees, Bradford and Craven in North Yorkshire saw patients in less than 40 percent of their appointments.

NHS digital data shows in Bury, Greater Manchester, patients saw just a third (36 per cent) of the doctor in July. Patients in North East Lincolnshire and Lincolnshire were placed through another staff member two-thirds of the time. Doctors in North East Essex saw patients in less than 40 percent of appointments,…

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