GPs on the warpath

Whether it’s reacting to attempts to poach patients by Darzi centres, or submitting one of the 803 determined motions at this week’s Annual Local Medical Committee (LMC) conference, GPs are generally not a happy bunch at the moment.

In Merseyside, a new Darzi centre wrote to frail, elderly patients who were registered at other GP practices, inviting them to leave their current GP and register with them because they have a home visiting service called Eldercare. According to the NHS Choices website they are ‘pioneering’ care of the elderly. Both the letter and the NHS Choices description implies their service is better than can be found at other GPs surgeries. The Darzi centre has written to apologise to local GP surgeries, but there are still unanswered questions

  1. Have they written to the patients to apologise?
  2. How did they get hold of other practice’s patient lists AND know who were the frail, elderly patients?
  3. Were the PCT complicit – they would have approved the new Darzi centre…?

The motions at this weeks LMC annual conference ‘Dependable care in difficult times’ are have many familiar themes but also send key political messages. They want the Government to be honest about the financial crisis and not to continue to raise patient expectations; to not get rid of practice boundaries as they fear the vulnerable (notably those requiring home visits) will suffer in particular; they have major concerns about Practice-based Commissioning,  as well as payments and their personal authority being undermined, PMS contracts etc. Most are very unhappy with the impact of polyclinics and feel they are not getting the support they need for the shift of work into the community. Some want NHS Direct to be scrapped and many have concerns over the direction of and confusion with NHS IT. It should be a passionate debate but most importantly, I hope their concerns will fall on listening ears.

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About Julia Manning

Julia Manning is a social pioneer, writer, campaigner and commentator. Formerly a clinical optometrist specialising in diabetes and visual impairment, she is the founder and Director of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal and Social. 2020health has through research, events and campaigning influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. In 2014, 2020health were founding partners of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Since 2016, 2020health has increasingly focused on digital health and public health in the community. Julia is a Fellow of the RSA and now also a part-time PhD student at the UCL Interaction Centre, studying the use of digital technology for stress management in the workplace. Julia has shared 2020health's research widely in the media (BBC News, ITV, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions & Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Radio 4 Today, PM and Woman's Hour, LBC) and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week.
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