I recently attended the Westminster Forum: The future of General Practice in England, and the consensus was that that primary care is in crisis. I heard that the work load for GPs has trebled for the same number of GPs but there are 1000 less GPs than the pervious year.
We have also seen public satisfaction with GPs has dropped to an all-time low in 35 years. It should, therefore, be welcome news to GPs and patients that the BMA is setting out a plan to manage pressure in primary care. Over 25% of GPs say that they conduct as many as 50 consultations in one day. The BMA guidance states that GPs risk slipping into unsafe practice when they deliver more than 35 routine consultations per day, or more than 15 involving long-term or complex conditions.
The guidance sets out how a general practice version of the 'black alert' system, which hospitals use to warn that they are facing extreme pressure, could work.
Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC chair, said: 'GP workloads have become increasingly unmanageable owing to the demand of more complex patient needs, widespread recruitment and retention issues, and years of underinvestment – all of which takes a toll on GPs’ physical, mental and social health'
'Given the clear crisis in general practice, there is an urgent need for cultural shift. Having a system of overworked and undervalued GPs is unsustainable and a change to safe working practices is vital to ensure the survival of general practice.'
The BMA has promised to carry out further work to define safe working limits, deliver advice for practices on how to implement safe working, and to endorse a locality working model with practices working around an 'overflow hub' that supports practices across each area.
'Given the clear crisis in general practice, there is an urgent need for cultural shift. Having a system of overworked and undervalued GPs is unsustainable and a change to safe working practices is vital to ensure the survival of general practice