Is This Why you Wait so Long to see Your GP?


The original article can be found here

“Is THIS why you wait so long to see your GP? Half a million immigrants are signing up at doctors surgeries every year “

In response to the Daily Mail – No it is not

The headline above is quoted from the Daily Mail – creating xenophobic articles. However what is even more alarming is reading user comments at the bottom of the article. Articles like this create unnecessary paranoia and many of the comments underneath the article are bordering on racist. In fact some of the more worrying comments seem to have been removed, presumably only after complaints to the Daily Mail.

Can the Daily Mail not make its mind up about the reasons for the waiting times to see a GP?

Most previous articles effectively state that GPs do no work, are lazy, should work harder, are always on the golf course, live in mansions and this is the reason for the wait times. Not to mention giving significant ‘air time’ to J Meirion Thomas’s twisted view of General Practice. However today they have decided it is immigration.

Now I do not feel immigration is the issue at all. I don’t dispute that it may be a small contributory factor but not a large part of the problem.

1) Their headline argument is that there are 500,000 immigrants coming to this country every year. However later in the article (hidden away) they state in 2014; 583,000 came to the UK and 325,000 left. Now I’m no good at maths but isn’t that a net figure of 258,000!
2) They cannot resist having a dig at doctors again even though they seem to think immigration is the whole problem. “While doctors struggle with groaning workloads, they are reluctant to talk about immigration and often downplay the issue”.
3) They don’t listen to doctors and GPs (who they have even quoted in the article) who I’m assuming know much more about the reasons for the waiting times for an appointment.

“Dr Richard Vautrey, a member of the British Medical Association’s General Practice Committee, said that although doctors were concerned about being overwhelmed, the pressure was not down to immigrants, but the ageing population. He said: ‘They [GPs] say they are struggling, but it’s not because of changes in the population.’Dr Vautrey added that immigrants tended to be younger and healthier than the general population, elderly people used the NHS far more and GPs were having to carry out more work traditionally done in hospitals. However, he said migrants with poor English did tend to need longer consultations and also the use of interpreters”

4) Let’s looks at the facts. The population of the UK has risen by about 5-6M over the last 10 years. There are approximately 10,000 GP surgeries in the UK. This means that over the last 10 years that is only an extra 500-600 patients’ per GP surgery. In addition using the Daily Mails own net immigration figures of 258,000, that is only approximately an extra 26 patients per GP practice per year due to immigration. I agree that list sizes are going up and the figures above do not include births to immigrants already moved here but it is not all due to ‘an influx of foreigners’. We are talking about GP appointment times in this article and many people immigrating from the EU are younger and therefore see the GP less often.

The main reason for waiting times to see a GP is not as the daily mail states due to immigrants. It is because of:

– Lack of doctors
– Doctors leaving the profession due to negative propaganda
– High levels of retirement
– Unsustainable workloads
– Patients missing appointments with no significant repercussions
– Inappropriate requests for ‘Emergency’ appointments’ such as for
a) Sick notes
b) Urgent inappropriate Requests for Exemption from jury duty
c) Urgent inappropriate Requests for Exemption from court as a witness
d) Self-limiting minor illnesses
e) Lost prescriptions
f) Waiting until the last minute and running out of medications
g) Conditions that have been present for months/years but suddenly the patient decides they need it seen as an emergency
– Higher levels of chronic diseases’ being diagnosed and managed
– Self-inflicted chronic health issues – alcohol, smoking, drug misuse, sedentary lifestyle, obesity and the health repercussions of these.
– Serial DNAs of hospital appointments, then wasting a subsequent GP appointment asking to be re-referred.
– Agreeing a management plan with a patient, they then attend a month later with the same symptoms yet have not actioned any of the agreed management plan or medications.
– Not making follow up appointments when requested to do so but demanding emergency appointments when their symptoms are no better.
– Asking for house calls when some can clearly attend the GP surgery
– A consumerist approach to healthcare with more demands on the services available

I could go on!

So let’s look a little closer to home rather than blame immigration every time for all our troubles.

However with a general election coming up I cannot see any politician addressing any of the above real issues.

Redirected on link above via Donotlink to Daily Mail article so their view statistics are not enhanced.

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