The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) have launched a new campaign to remind both patients and doctors that patient safety must always come first in the ever increasing demand for GP appointments.
Over 1million patients visit their GP surgery every day and some GPs are now routinely seeing between 40-60 patients a day.
GPs and their teams are currently making estimated 370m patient consultations every year – 60m more than even five years ago and the equivalent of 90% of all NHS patient contacts.
Yet over the same period, the number of GPs has grown by a mere 4.1%.
With a growing and ageing population in the UK, more patients are also living with multiple and long-term conditions, meaning that work in general practice is more complex – and the standard 10-minute consultation is becoming increasingly inadequate.
Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs and an expert in patient safety, said: “Most people would not get on a plane flown by a tired pilot, or jump on a train where they knew the driver had already worked a 12-hour day – and most patients would not choose to be the 40th or 50th patient at the end of a long day in surgery.
“GPs are currently seeing too many patients a day to be safe and at the end of a long day in clinic, we will still have a mountain of paperwork to get through.
“It is fine now and again to have a ‘really busy day’, but general practice is currently relentless and this is a threat to our own health and our patients’ safety.
How Can Patients help here at Whitemoor?
- Around 12 hours of GP time are wasted every month by patients who book appointments and then do not turn up for them. Please let us know if you no longer need your GP appointment so we can use it for somebody else.
- We guarantee that if you have an urgent medical problem that is causing you real distress you will be able to see or speak to a clinician that same day. Please respect this potentially lifesaving service by not requesting a same day appointment unless it is absolutely necessary for your immediate health.
- Everyone can go to their pharmacist for free advice or to buy a medication for a minor ailment.
Your pharmacist can help you decide whether you need to see a doctor or if self-treatment is enough. They may suggest a treatment that you can purchase from the pharmacy or receive for free through the ‘Pharmacy First’ scheme if you qualify. Most pharmacies are open throughout the day and there are some that are also open until midnight and at weekends.
If you qualify for free prescriptions you could receive free treatment from your local participating community pharmacist for the following conditions without having to see your GP
- Athlete’s foot
- Bacterial conjunctivitis
- Dental pain
- Hay fever
- Head lice
- Insect bites/stings
- Sore throat
Please help us to help you by following these guidelines.