Increasing GP workload putting patients ‘at risk’
Posted: July 30, 2015
Posted in: Medical Negligence
According to a study by the Royal College of GPs, patient safety in the UK is ‘at risk’ because of GP’s increasing workload. The study suggests that the pressure of increased bureaucracy, complex cases, and extra consultations is resulting in a diluted practice, with patients not receiving the care they deserve. The RCGP said that GPs are suffering with severe fatigue, which affects their performance. The report highlights that this would not be allowed to happen with pilots or train drivers.
The RCGP has called for something to be done, suggesting that a new system is introduced whereby practices under extreme pressure can send out distress signals. This would be implemented in a similar way to the red and black alerts used by hospitals when there is a great surge of incoming patients. These alerts warn the rest of the system to relieve pressure where possible.
The college has called for compulsory breaks to be introduced for GPs, believing that this will greatly minimise the risk of error. They raised the point that consultations have risen by almost a fifth in the last five years – to more than 360million a year. This is in no way proportionate to the increase in GP numbers.
The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has recently drawn up plans to invest in general practice. He promised the recruitment of an additional 5,000 GPs, 5,000 support staff, and extra investment.
A spokesman from the Department of Health said: “GPs do a fantastic job and we know they are under pressure as our population ages and more people live with long-term conditions. That’s why we have committed to make 10,000 more staff available for general practice.”
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