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.

About Julia Manning

Julia is a social pioneer, writer and campaigner. She studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991, later specialising in visual impairment and diabetes. During her career in optometry, she lectured at City University, was a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital and worked with Primary Care Trusts. She ran a domiciliary practice across south London and was a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. Julia formed 20/20Health in 2006. Becoming an expert in digital health solutions, she led on the NHS–USA Veterans’ Health Digital Health Exchange Programme and was co-founder of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Her research interests are now in harnessing digital to improve personal health, and she is a PhD candidate in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) at UCL. She is also dedicated to creating a sustainable Whole School Wellbeing Community model for schools that builds relationships, discovers assets and develops life skills. She is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine’s Digital Health Council. 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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