NHS Crisis – Long Waiting Times


Reading the public comments on the latest articles about the NHS crisis with A&E wait times, I am struck by the public’s perception of the fact it is all due to lazy GPs who are overpaid, and if they worked like they did 20 years ago everything would be okay.

How about introducing some facts to this inaccurate perception of General Practice.

– There has been a 24% increase in GP consultations since 2008.
– 340 million consultations are undertaken every year (up by 40 million since 2008)
– Over 90% of all contacts with the NHS occur in General Practice
– The average member of the public sees a GP six times a year (double the number of visits over the last decade)
– In 2011 the number of over 65s was 10,494,000 and by 2031 it is predicted to be 15,778,000
– By 2021 more than 1 million people will be predicted to be living with dementia and by 2030 3 million people will be living with or beyond cancer
– By 2035 there will be an additional 550,000 cases of diabetes and 400,000 additional cases of heart disease in England. The number of people with multiple long term conditions is set to grow from 1.9 to 2.9 million from 2008 to 2018
– 18 million patients in the UK are estimated to suffer from a chronic condition, with the majority managed in the community.
– Since 2008 GP income has declined by 11% while there has been a 2.3% increase in the cost of running practice.
– GP pay has risen by 2.5% since 2004. In real terms GP income has fallen by 11% between 2008 and 2012.

I see many inaccurate comments about GPs only working 9-5 and that if we worked more like any other job there would be no crisis. How about I shadow your work for a day to see if you work non-stop like GPs for 10-12 hours per day with no breaks or lunch or time to talk to colleagues. No time to have a little chat with colleagues or gossip with a cup of coffee; No daydreaming out of a window on a day I may not be feeling well thinking I will catch up with my work later in the week.

I have a never ending list of face to face consultations and telephone triage throughout the day so do not have time to even contemplate such luxury in my daily routine. If I took all the breaks I should from my own health point of view and took time out to chat to colleagues about my weekend, then you would see what happens to the already crisis in General Practice.

There is a recruitment crisis so less GPs for more patients and care needs. People keep saying everything would be okay if GPs worked like we did 20 years ago. Look at the increase in GP consultations above. If you look at the facts the system of 20 years ago was unsustainable as well, with the increase in GP consultations and GP recruitment crises. I must apologise for not being able to work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I’m sure some people must then wonder why I’m not working for the remaining half day of the year. Reply – It’s not a leap year.

So in summary if you have no idea what a GP does on a daily basis please keep your comments to yourself unless you want to have a continual decline in the people who want to become GPs. If not it is only fair to mention your occupation so I can comment on your job.

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