There’s a bit of chatter on Twitter today about the results of a Pulse survey showing that more than 50% of Gp’s would charge fees for routine appointments. The article mentions that patient demand is only going to go up and of course there is the lingering issue of OOH of course
Declaration of interest – I am a GP’s wife and a friend of many Gps. I don’t think many Gps would vote for this charge (which will be doubtless spun as ‘greedy’ GPs wanting to make even more money off the backs of the public) without feeling some sort of desperation about their future workload.
How can GPs work smarter and manage workload?
There are some very good ideas floating around – Patient First, for example- an extension of the ‘traditional’ model of GP practice.
There is always going to be a place for the face-face appointment at Primary Care level especially for those who are acutely ill but surely the time has come to think outside the box instead and look to ways to integrate technology properly into care, especially chronic care?
- What about thinking about ways to ‘stream’ data from chronic patients eg: blood sugars from diabetics, daily / monthly blood pressures, even peak flows from asthmatics. Constant streaming will mean that clinicians would have access to real time information highlighting problems as they happen. Patients wouldn’t have to come in for routine checks, checking the data wouldn’t be time specific
- Using wifi pedometers / wifi scales that link to the web that can be accessed remotely by lifestyle trainers to monitor / encourage / set targets for. This approach could potentially have more capacity than any gym program.
- Better signposting to support groups on and offline
- Improved Communication between Pharmacists and GPs – if pharmacists begin to see more patients then records need to be shared.
Most of this technology is already here, the vision and the will to use it has to be here too. The NHS should be free at the point of use service but if that principle is to be kept, Primary Care has to have the will to change the model of delivery.
Just my two pence worth!