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 entrepreneur, writer, campaigner and commentator. She is based in London and is the founder and Chief Executive of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal. Through networking, technology, research, relationships and campaigning 2020health has influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. Julia studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991. Her career has included being a visiting lecturer at City University, a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital, working with south London Primary Care Trusts and as a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. She specialised in diabetes (University of Warwick Certificate in Diabetic Care) and founded Julia Manning Eyecare in 2004, a home and prison visiting practice for people with mental and physical disabilities using the latest digital technology, which she sold to Healthcall (now part of Specsavers) in 2009. Experiences of working in the NHS, contributing to policy development, raising two children in the inner-city and standing in the General Election in Bristol in 2005 led to Julia forming 2020health at the end of 2006. Julia is a regular guest on TV and radio shows such as BBC News, ITV’s Daybreak/ GMB, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions, BBC Radio, LBC and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week. She is mum to a rugby-mad son, a daughter passionate about Shakespeare, and wife of a comprehensive school assistant head-teacher. She loves gardening, ballet, Zimbabwe, her Westies Skye and Angus, is an honorary research associate at UCL and a Fellow of the RSA.
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