Who is my GP?
With the introduction of the new Unplanned Hospital Admissions Enhanced Service there’s a requirement for patients to have a ‘named GP’. Most patients with long term conditions will arrange their follow up and routine care with their favourite or named doctor and are often used to seeing any doctor if an acute problem arises. Patients do this automatically, so does it really need government intervention?
Contrary to belief continuity of care is just as important to our healthcare providers as it is to patients. GP’s and nurses in particular build rapport with their regular patients, they understand their health needs, and they can refer to their family history and can recall why they prescribed certain medication. GP’s often want more continuity to improve their job satisfaction, patient safety and efficiency. GPs value receiving documents and results for a consistent group of patients because they feel they can coordinate their care more effectively.
Continuity of care could create a workload imbalance
Very often in our Practice we find ourselves explaining to patients that although they are registered with the Practice, they can choose which GP they would like to see. Patients value continuity of care because it provides more joined-up and individualised care. However, with an ever increasing workload, and popularity of certain GP’s, patients may have to wait a little longer for a routine appointment with their ‘usual GP’.
There are numerous systems out there which can create full personalised patient lists but it’s important to recognise that some patients may wish to periodically change their usual GP. Systems must be able to adapt to these requests, without burdening any one particular GP. It could even mean that less popular GP’s have a lighter workload and that doesn’t seem a fair system at all.
What about the availability of your Usual GP?
However, where do Salaried GPs fit in with this system? Patient’s do have a choice but it’s inevitable that choice will be compromised somewhere based on the availability of GP’s, especially those who are part-time and those available much less due to other commitments e.g. CCG membership. There will be an element of having to swap patients between GP’s but then those patients don’t really end up with a choice at all.
Alison Lowerson – QCS Expert GP Practice Manager Contributor
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