Calderdale GPs battling with winter pressures and to see more patients

GPs are battling to meet the demand to see more patients ahead of the busy winter period.

Friday, 19th November 2021, 7:00 am

GP’s in England will receive £250m in a bid to improve access to their services but only if they increase the number of face-to-face consultations.

The winter rescue packages were unveiled by ministers so they can recruit extra locum staff with an emphasis on provision of more same-day appointments for patients across the country.

As well as the emergency finding, social distancing rules are expected to be relaxed so GPs can bring more people into their surgeries.

GPs are trying to conduct more face-to-face appointments (Getty Images)

The pressure is high for GPs in Calderdale.

Neil Smurthwaite, Chief Operating Officer, NHS Calderdale CCG said on average just over 99,000 appointments took place each month over the summer (June-August).

GP practices have worked hard to provide a service throughout the pandemic and continue to do so.

“The data tells us that GP practices in Calderdale continue to experience high demand for appointments.

“To protect everyone, COVID-19 safety protocols are still in place in practices. Social distancing in waiting rooms must be maintained and additional cleaning between appointments takes place.

“To help keep people safe and make sure those with the greatest need are seen first, all appointments are triaged. Many GP practices include a range of professionals, including advanced nurse practitioners and pharmacists who can diagnose and treat health conditions. It is because of this multi-disciplinary team approach that practices can offer a mix of in-person, telephone and online appointments.

“Fifty-eight per cent of appointments during the summer have taken place in GP practices and 60% of appointments took place on the same or next day of being requested. We thank patients for their understanding during this time.

“As we move into the winter period, a traditional busy time for the NHS, we would like to take this opportunity to assure patients that GP practices in Calderdale are working really hard, with our health and care partners, to deliver the care they need.

“We ask people to help us, help you get the care you need this winter by choosing well. If anyone is worried about their health, don’t delay, the NHS wants to hear from you.”

The winter fund investment from the Government investment fund locums and support from other health professionals such as physiotherapists and podiatrists, with a focus on increasing capacity to boost urgent same-day care.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “I am determined to ensure patients can see their GP in the way they want, no matter where they live. I also want to thank GPs and their teams for their enormous efforts in the most challenging times in living memory.

“Our new plan provides general practice teams with investment and targeted support. This will tackle underperformance, taking pressure off staff so they can spend more time with patients and increase the number of face-to-face appointments.”

The British Medical Association (BMA) warned that the new rules would make it harder rather than easier for patients to get appointments.

“After weeks of promising an ‘emergency package’ to rescue general practice, we’re hugely dismayed that whilst additional funding has been promised the package as a whole offers very little and shows a government completely out of touch with the scale of the crisis on the ground”, said Dr Richard Vautrey, the chair of the BMA’s GPs committee.

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