GP surgeries are being told not to close for lunch anymore – or that their wallets will be tightened.
Battle lines are being drawn in Kent and Medway as health officials go to war with GPs over patient accessibility.
The Region’s NHS Integrated Care Board, which controls regional NHS budgets, issued a notice to GPs last week to remind them of the surgeries ‘Lunch time is not allowed’.
Officials vowed to issue “remedy violations” for offensive practices if they are found to have flouted the rules or needs of patients.
While unlikely, funding could be withheld from operations, most of which are run as private companies and contracted by the NHS.
The NHS is threatening GP surgeries that close during lunchtime with a breach notice over their contact with the health service (stock image)
Visiting a doctor shouldn’t be like booking an Uber driver, MPs say
Visiting your GP shouldn’t be like booking an Uber driver you’ll never see again, MPs say, calling for a cap on the length of surgeries’ patient lists.
In a major 65-page report on the future of GPs, the Health and Welfare Committee has stated that the relationship between GPs and patients should be from ‘cradle to grave’.
MPs are calling for the Government and NHS England to scrap ‘micromanagement’ frameworks that measure too many targets ‘risk turning patients into numbers’.
Instead, they should focus on limiting the number of patients on a GP’s list to, say, 2,500, which would slowly reduce over five years to around 1,850 if more GPs are hired as planned, it said.
Under the NHS England contract, practices are to be open between 8am and 6.30pm on weekdays that are not bank holidays.
However, there is still some flexibility, as practices are allowed to close for part of the day, for example for lunch or staff training.
However, this is only possible if it is approved by local health chiefs.
Practices also need to ensure they continue to meet the needs of their patients, e.g. B. by referring patients to another location.
The notice to Kent and Medway GPs, seen by Pulse, states that it “Media reports of practices closing at lunchtime and it will continue to be a topic of interest.’
It said it’it may be necessary for the ICB to issue a Remedial Breach Notice to the practice where there is no evidence that the closure was authorized.
“As you know, closing at lunchtime is not allowed,” she added.
“While Kent and Medway ICB fully understand that practices face staffing pressures, doors must remain open to patients between 8am and 6.30pm Monday to Friday.
“Where a practice is found to be closing without a permit to operate, ICB may be required to issue a Remedy Breach Notice to the practice if the practice cannot provide evidence of permit to operate and the closure meets the reasonable access needs of its patient population .’
The Kent Local Medical Committee, which represents GP practices across the region, is challenging the ICB over the contractual basis of the alleged breaches.
British Medical Association guidance says the NHS contract does not specifically state practices must be open at all times during core hours.
England’s General Practitioner Postcode Lottery: Official data shows some areas have half as many doctors per patient as others. Nuffield Trust analysis shows that there are 39.5 GPs in Portsmouth caring for 100,000 people. People in Thurrock have 40.3 GPs per 100,000 people in the area and in Hull the figure is 41.9 per 100,000
Official figures show that the average salary of GPs rose by around £10,000 to nearly £112,000 during the pandemic in the last reporting period
In March this year, Kent and Medway CCG, the ICB’s predecessor, reported that nearly 17 percent of the region’s 192 GP surgeries were closed for lunch in April 2021.
Since then, no more current figures have been published.
A spokesman for the ICB said: “We are aware that a small number of practices closed their doors at lunchtime.
“We have made it very clear to them that patients should have access to GP services between 8am and 6.30pm, their core contracted times.
‘We understand the tremendous pressure that general practices are under and love to work with practices to determine how best to meet local patient demand.’
Kent and Medway have one of the worst GP shortages in England, with just about 45 GPs per 100,000 people, according to NHS data.
Access to GPs has become one of the hottest battlegrounds between government and health leaders.
Two-thirds of appointments with GPs in England in the past month have been face-to-face, according to the latest data from NHS Digital. The figure of 66.1 percent is still well below the average of 80 percent before the outbreak of the pandemic. But that is the highest rate since March 2020, when Britain was thrown into its first national lockdown as the coronavirus swept across the country
Last month there were just 27,558 full-time equivalent, fully qualified GPs working in England, down 1.6 per cent from the 18,000 in June 2021. It was a 5.3 percent drop from the more than 29,000 working in June 2017
Ministers have promised to fix the “phone lottery” to speak to a GP in the morning and increase the number of in-person appointments, which are still lagging behind pre-pandemic rates.
According to the latest data from NHS Digital, just two-thirds of appointments with GPs in England over the past month have been face-to-face.
The value of 66.1 percent is well below the average of 80 percent before the outbreak of the pandemic.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/health-news/crackdown-on-gp-surgeries-that-close-at-lunch/ Crack down on general practitioners’ practices that close at noon!