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Found 41 results
  1. Content Article
    The results of the survey showed a high degree of confidence among patients about visiting GP premises in person, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Two thirds of patients reported feeling very (35%) or somewhat (31%) confident about making such a visit. Measures such as having hand sanitiser and Perspex screens at reception would increase this confidence further, with relatively few patients concerned about them. They also confirmed that many patients had been offered remote consultations, and that phone calls were much more common than online appointments. Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, commented: “These results show that patients are keen to visit their GP’s premises in person, and feel confident about doing so. They also show that remote consultations have worked well for some patients, but that real-world access to premises is essential for others. In reopening its primary care services, the NHS must ensure that the options for accessing GP premises meet the needs of all patients, and build on the strong confidence in visiting their GPs that patients continue to hold.”
  2. News Article
    General practices will struggle to cope with a second wave of COVID-19 unless urgent measures are put in place to support them, the BMA has warned. It said that practices in England were reporting that they did not have the capacity to carry out all of the work required of them while managing ongoing patient care, dealing with the backlog of care put on hold during the first wave of the pandemic, and reconfiguring services. Richard Vautrey, chair of the BMA’s General Practitioners Committee England, said, “GPs, like all doctors, are extremely concerned that without decisive action now services will be overwhelmed if we see another spike in the coming weeks and months.” In the report, the committee called for a package of measures to support the GP workforce, including making occupational health services available to all staff to ensure that they are properly risk assessed and to provide free supplies of personal protective equipment. It also called for the suspension of routine inspections by the Care Quality Commission and of the Quality and Outcomes Framework, as part of efforts to reduce bureaucracy. NHS England’s covid support fund for practices should be rolled over until March 2021 and expanded to ensure that all additional costs such as additional telephony and cleaning are included, it added. Vautrey said, “The measures we’ve outlined are aimed at supporting practices and their staff to deliver high quality care while managing the increased pressures of doing so during a pandemic, and it is vital that the government and NHS England listen and implement these urgently, to ensure that primary care can continue to operate safely through what looks to be an incredibly difficult winter.” Read full story Source: BMJ, 1 October 2020
  3. News Article
    GP practices are being told they must make sure patients can be seen face to face when they need such appointments. NHS England is writing to all practices to make sure they are communicating the fact doctors can be seen in person if necessary, as well as virtually. It's estimated half of the 102 million appointments from March to July were by video or phone call, NHS Digital said. However, the Royal College of GPs said any implication GPs had not been doing their job properly was "an insult". NHS England said research suggested nearly two thirds of the public were happy to have a phone or video call with their doctor - but that, ahead of winter, they wanted to make sure people knew they could see their GP if needed. Nikki Kanani, medical director of primary care for NHS England, said GPs had adapted quickly in recent months to offer remote consultations and "safe face-to-face care when needed". Prof Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said general practice was "open and has been throughout the pandemic", with a predominantly remote service to help stop the spread of coronavirus. He said: "The college does not want to see general practice become a totally, or even mostly, remote service post-pandemic. However, we are still in the middle of a pandemic. We need to consider infection control and limit footfall in GP surgeries - all in line with NHS England's current guidance." He said most patients had understood the changes and that clinical commissioning groups had been asked to work with GP practices where face-to-face appointments were not possible - for example, if all GPs were at a high risk from coronavirus. "Any implication that they have not been doing their job properly is an insult to GPs and their teams who have worked throughout the pandemic, continued delivering the vast majority of patient care in the NHS and face an incredibly difficult winter ahead," he said. Read full story Source: BBC News, 14 September 2020 Research from the college indicated that routine GP appointments were back to near-normal levels for this time of year, after decreasing at the height of the pandemic. "Each and every day last week an estimated third of a million appointments were delivered face to face by general practices across the country," added Prof Marshall.
  4. News Article
    New guidance requires GPs to offer at least some face-to-face appointments, amid reports that some had completely eliminated them, sparking ‘significant incidents’. NHS England’s instructions for the third phase of the NHS response to COVID-19 were issued on Friday, including the call that “all GP practices must offer face to face appointments at their surgeries” along with remote triage and remote consultations. Most appointments in primary care have been carried out remotely since the NHS instituted new operating procedures in response to covid, with practices offering a mix of remote consultations over the telephone or video, with a diminished number face-to-face. However, there have been reports of some GP practices not offering any face-to-face appointments at all, and continuing this approach following the peak of cases in the spring. A letter to GPs last month told them they must offer appointments in person “where clinically appropriate”, now reiterated in the phase three guidance. The letter added: “It should be clear to patients that all practice premises are open to provide care, with adjustments to the mode of delivery. No practice should be communicating to patients that their premises are closed.” Read full story Source: HSJ, 4 August 2020
  5. News Article
    All GP appointments should be done remotely by default unless a patient needs to be seen in person, Matt Hancock has said, prompting doctors to warn of the risk of abandoning face-to-face consultations. In a speech setting out lessons for the NHS and care sector from the coronavirus pandemic, the health secretary claimed that while some errors were made, “so many things went right” in the response to Covid-19, and new ways of working should continue. He said it was patronising to claim that older patients were not able to handle technology. The plan for web-based GP appointments is set to become formal policy, and follows guidance already sent to GPs on having more online consultations. But the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) hit back, saying it would oppose a predominantly online system on the grounds that both doctors and patients benefited from proper contact. Read full article here
  6. News Article
    A third of GPs believe it will take up to a year or longer for their practice to return to pre-Covid levels of capacity, even with ‘no future spikes’ of the virus. The data comes from the BMA’s latest COVID-19 tracker survey, which polled almost 2,000 GPs in England and Wales. GPs have previously warned that they are battling a backlog of referrals and patients who have been ‘overlooked’ during the coronavirus crisis. Around 26% of the 1,770 GP respondents said consultations would take between three and 12 months to return to normal when asked how quickly their practice will ‘return to full pre-Covid levels of capacity... assuming there are no future Covid spikes’. And a further 7% of GPs believed it could take ‘longer’ than a year or that consultations would ‘never’ return to pre-Covid levels. Read full story Source: Pulse, 23 July 2020
  7. News Article
    GP systems will now be updated in 'near-real time' to reveal the result of Covid-19 tests taken by all of their patients. GPs will not need to act on the information, which will be visible on systems whether the patient tested positive or negative. This will apply to all patients where it has been possible to identify the patient's NHS number, NHS Digital said. EMIS Health chief medical officer Shaun O’Hanlon said: "Technology has played a pivotal role in the response to COVID-19 across the board and keeping the medical record up to date with COVID-19 test results means everyone who can share that record has a full picture of the patient’s health, including the patient themselves via Patient Access." "This will not only help day to day patient care, and it will also help on a wider population health level, as data-led insight relies on full and complete medical records as analysts continue to research COVID-19 and its short- and long-term impact on the nation." Read full story Source: Pulse, 20 July 2020
  8. News Article
    A GP practice serving one of Greater Manchester’s most deprived communities has been banned from operating for four months after regulators uncovered a catalogue of basic failures - including failing to follow up on a child reporting breathing difficulties for three days. Jarvis Medical Practice in Glodwick has had its registration with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) suspended after ‘serious concerns’ passed to the body led to a snap inspection last month. Inspectors found the practice, based at Glodwick Primary Care Centre, was failing 20 separate standards, many of them relating to patient safety. It noted ‘poor quality’ and conflicting records that were sometimes impossible to properly understand and urgent home visits delayed or not carried out at all. In one case a patient with a lump apparently received no physical examination and was not referred for tests or scans ‘due to Covid-19’. Inspectors also found examples of patients with breathing difficulties, including a child, who were not dealt with for days after they got in touch. In one case no further contact was made for 11 working days, with no explanation provided in the patient's notes. The practice, which serves more than 5,000 patients in the Oldham neighbourhood of Glodwick, has now been suspended by the CQC until October 11. Read full story Source: Manchester Evening News, 17 July 2020
  9. News Article
    Almost three quarters of GP partners are concerned about how to keep colleagues safe as numbers of patients attending practices return to pre-pandemic levels - with access to PPE a major worry, a GPonline poll has found. Half of the 185 GP partners responding to the poll said that they were either 'very worried' or 'slightly worried' about the government's ability to supply the PPE that GPs and practice staff needed to keep them as safe as possible through the rest of the pandemic. Only 9% said they were 'very confident' that the government would be able to supply adequate PPE, with a further 20% saying they were 'slightly confident'. Some 73% of GP partners said that they were concerned about how to ensure the safety of practice staff as the number of patients attending the surgery begins to rise. BMA GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said keeping staff safe was 'a challenge for everyone in the NHS'. He told GPonline: 'Even months now into this crisis the government still hasn’t sorted out PPE in a way that means people have absolute confidence that they will have enough to meet their needs, and the growing needs of practices as they will need to be seeing more patients face-to-face for important procedures that can’t be done remotely. Read full story Source: GPonline, 8 June 2020
  10. News Article
    Drugs that could relieve the symptoms of coronavirus in vulnerable patients and help them avoid admission to hospital are to begin trials in homes across the UK. The experiment, led by a team at Oxford University, seeks to test pre-existing treatments for older people in the community who show signs of the disease. Known as Principle, or “Platform Randomised trial of interventions against Covid-19 in older People”, it is the first to take place in primary care settings such as health clinics. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Independent, 12 May 2020
  11. News Article
    GPs will now be able to access records for patients registered at other practices during the coronavirus epidemic in a major relaxation of current rules. The move will allow appointments to be shared across practices, and NHS 111 staff will also have access to records to let them book direct appointments for patients at any GP practice or specialist centre. The change in policy has been initiated by NHS Digital and NHSX to enable swift and secure sharing of patient records across primary care during the covid-19 pandemic. It means that the GP Connect1 system, currently used by some practices to share records on a voluntary basis, will be switched on at all practices until the pandemic is over. In addition, extra information including significant medical history, reason for medication, and immunisations will be added to patients’ summary care records and made available to a wider group of healthcare professionals. Usually, individuals must opt in but following the changes only people who have opted out will be excluded. Read full story Source: The BMJ, 27 April 2020
  12. Community Post
    HOW SAFE ARE OUR GP PRACTICES during covid-19? For the health care professionals, their patients, and families of patients? I'm a 65-yr old diabetic needing routine B12 injections. My GP tells me to turn up as normal so I don't develop neurological problems. I don't think anyone in the practice has been tested for covid-19. I'm refusing to turn up since I suspect the GP practice to be a covid-19 hot-spot. I don't want to transmit this virus to my frail, elderly asthmatic husband who's undergone cancer treatment and a lot of surgery. I've persuaded the GP to give me a precription for oral B12. Have I done the right thing? How can I help GPs and patients in far worse dilemmas than mine?
  13. News Article
    The rapid spread of coronavirus has given the NHS a “kick forward” in the need to accelerate technology and ensure staff are digitally prepared, a GP has said. Neil Paul, a Digital Health columnist and GP in Ashfields, said the need to reduce face-to-face appointments to prevent the potential transmission of Covid-19 has forced the NHS, particularly in primary care, to adopt already available technologies. He said practices “still in the stone ages” and “technophobes” were less prepared for the current situation, but that it would force them to move into the digital age. “It’s absolutely made my surgery go ‘right, how do we do online consults’. I think it actually has given people a real kick forward,” he told Digital Health News. “I think in six months’ time my surgery might be very different in that actually we will be doing a lot of online and telephone consults where previously we may have been a bit reluctant." GP practices across the country have been advised to assess patients online or via telephone and video appointments to mitigate the potential spread of coronavirus. In a letter to GPs last week, NHS England urged Britain’s 7,000 GP surgeries to reduce face-to-face appoints for patients displaying symptoms of Covid-19. The preemptive move means millions of patients will now be triaged online, via telephone or video and contacted via text messaging services. Read full story Source: Digital Health News, 13 March 2020
  14. News Article
    Tests for coronavirus are being increased to include people displaying flu-like symptoms at 11 hospitals and 100 GP surgeries across the UK. The tests will provide an "early warning" if the virus is spreading, Public Health England Medical Director Prof Paul Cosford said. Up to now, people were tested only if they displayed symptoms having recently returned from one of the countries where there has been an outbreak, including China, South Korea and northern Italy. However, Prof Cosford said Public Health England was now working with hospitals and GP surgeries to conduct "random" tests. These will target some patients with coughs, fevers or shortness of breath, regardless of whether they have travelled to a place where the virus is spreading. "If we do get to the position of a more widespread infection across the country, then it will give us early warning that's happening," said Prof Cosford. Read full story Source: BBC News, 26 February 2020
  15. Content Article
    This paper presents a narrative review of the evidence relating to the quality and safety of locum medical practice. Its purpose is to develop our understanding of how temporary working in the medical profession might impact on quality and safety and to help formulate recommendations for practice, policy and research priorities. The authors conclude that there is very limited empirical evidence to support the many commonly held assumptions about the quality and safety of locum practice, or to provide a secure evidence base for the development of guidelines on locum working arrangements. It is clear that future research could contribute to a better understanding of the quality and safety of locum doctors working and could help to find ways to improve the use of locum doctors and the quality and safety of patient care that they provide.
  16. Content Article
    The toolkit is designed to be used by the whole primary care team within the GP practice or out of hours setting. These resources can be used flexibly, either as standalone materials or as part of an integrated package. The Royal College of General Practitioners do recommend that all resources are used if this is feasible. Using the TARGET Antibiotics Toolkit resources will enable primary care organisations to demonstrate compliance with the Health and Social Care Act 2008: Code of Practice on the prevention and control of infections and related guidance.
  17. News Article
    Family doctors are under intense pressure and general practice is running on empty, warns the Royal College of GPs (RCGP). It says severe staff shortages are causing "unacceptable" delays for patients in England. In a letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, its chairman says ministers must take urgent action to deal with the lack of GPs. The government said it had recruited a "record number" of GP trainees. Ministers are committed to recruiting 6,000 more GPs in England by 2025. Prof Martin Marshall, who took over as RCGP chairman in November, says GPs are struggling with an escalating workload, which is causing many to burn out and leave the profession. Dr Andrew Dharman, who works at the The Avenue surgery in Ealing, said the stress has got worse because of the enormous workload placed on GPs. He said: "Sometimes it feels like you're drowning. You know you're trying to stay afloat and on top of all the workload. And you're trying to make sure you're providing the kind of care that you envisage when you go to medical school." "You feel frustrated sometimes that you can't necessarily do that because of the amount of work and patients." Read full story Source: BBC News, 9 January 2020
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