Are GPs Under Pressure?

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Following NHS England's report into the death of 12 month old William Mead, The British Medical Association (BMA) has raised concerns that GPs are facing continued, high-pressure working conditions, and this could be one of the reasons the child's chest infection and subsequent Sepsis was not properly diagnosed.

Healthcare

A Constant Rush

The leader of the BMA, Dr Nagpaul, has said that Doctors have to rush patients through to keep up with their workload, and according to him, this could be potentially dangerous in terms of identifying serious illnesses and providing appropriate care.

This admission by Dr Nagpaul comes as the BMA released the results of an online survey of just under 3,000 GP practices in England and about 145 practices in Wales, which represents 1 in 3 of the total in England and Wales.

This survey showed:

  • 55% of those interviewed thought the quality of the service their practices gave had gone down in the past 12 months
  • 68% said that their workload was unmanageable
  • The number of GPs per head of population has fallen since 2009 to 60.6 per 100,000 people in 2014.


Dr Nagpaul commented that continuous rushing through of patients is unsustainable and getting to the point where it is not safe. Another 10,000 GPs are needed to plug the gap and to reduce the pressure as parliament is pushing for the GPs to provide a 7 day service. This, coupled with an aging population means many of patients Doctors are seeing have multiple conditions and are on multiple medicines, but there simply isn't have the time to properly consider how they interact – Dr Nagpaul added "we have been forced to let down patients."

Daxa Patel, Medical Negligence solicitor comments:

"In short - the BMA’s view is that pressures on GPs in England and Wales are so great that they feel that they are failing patients and potentially providing unsafe care. It is no wonder that tragedies such as the death of William Mead occur when appropriate care simply cannot be provided in a timely and accurate fashion due to pressures of the job.

If the investment required is not provided to the GP practices to enable them to deliver a high level of care, then there is a real danger that even more tragedies will occur."

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