NHS England - October 2015 Statement
“We recognise that general practices are under considerable pressure.”
"General practice feels under pressure as never before. Workload is increasingly driven by an unprecedented rise in the number of patients and growing complexity of their needs, added to by growing expectations both from politicians and policy makers. Many GPs are working increasingly long hours and an increasing number are looking to leave the profession,while the number applying to become trainees and practice nurse has fallen to a worrying level. The overall share of the NHS budget for general practice has reduced by nearly 20% over the last decade, leading commentators to describe it as a ‘perfect storm’."
What are the alternatives to 'going to the doctors'?
In Wiltshire, there are numerous ways to access health care advice and treatment but people may not always be clear on which service is best for them. Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is asking people to consider the range of options available before attending A&E or booking a GP appointment.
“Knowing which services to access for health advice and treatment can seem a little confusing. People often default to ringing the GP or turning up at A&E but with so many other options available this isn’t always the best option. We often see people in the surgery with colds and flu which unless the patient is particularly young or elderly, can often be treated at a local pharmacy with over the counter medicines. Pharmacists have a wealth of knowledge on a range of health issues and are experts in medicines – they can also help you to decide whether it’s necessary for you to see a doctor or not if you’re unsure. For sprains, dislocations, minor cuts and burns or minor eye injuries then one of the two minor injury units in the county or the walk-in centre in Salisbury would be able to help you. If you’re not sure, then call the 111 service, they will be able to advise you on the most appropriate place to go for advice or treatment. If you need urgent medical assistance for a serious or life threatening condition then always telephone 999 straight away.”
For location and opening times of Minor Injury Units in Wiltshire visit www.wiltshireccg.nhs.uk. Minor Injuries Units are for patients with less serious injuries, such as sprains, cuts and grazes. No appointments are required and they are led by qualified nurse practitioners. The Salisbury walk-in centre is open from 0800 – 2000 everyday, including bank holidays. The centre is run by a team of experienced doctors and nurses and is based on a first come first served basis, unless someone is acutely unwell and needs immediate attention. For details on how to find the Salisbury walk-in centre visit http://www.salisburywalkincentre.co.uk.
NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and calls are free from landlines and mobiles. It is staffed by a team of fully trained advisers, supported by experienced nurses and paramedics. Healthcare advice can be given over the telephone or you may be directed to a local service that can help you best. NHS Choices, the UK’s biggest health website also has a wealth of advice and information on a range of medical conditions as well as a useful symptom checker. NHS choices can be accessed by visiting www.nhs.uk. If a medical situation is life threatening, you should always phone 999. Serious injuries, loss of consciousness, chest pain or suspected stroke are medical emergencies and you should not hesitate to call 999.
The Guardian - ‘Life of a GP’
In 2009, Manor House’s GPs put on 49 sessions a week, during which they typically saw 736 patients face-to-face and did telephone consultations with 121 others. That has risen to 64-and-a-half sessions a week, at which they usually provide 991 appointments and talk to 123 patients on the phone.
“I have four children, but I wouldn’t want any of them becoming a GP like I did, because the great bit about being a GP – providing continuity of care, watching kids grow up into adults and living and working as part of a community – is being unbalanced by the high pressure nature of it and the decreasing job satisfaction.”