General practitioners must be prepared to stand united behind industrial action if necessary, said the GPC Deputy Chairman today in his opening speech at the LMC conference in England.
GPs again only have to treat 25-35 patients a day to protect their well-being and if this cannot be done industrial action will be required, he warned.
To that end, LMCs need to “go out and ask what actions our colleagues are willing to take.”
“We need activists in every LMC who can build support and understanding for industrial action so we can rekindle the light at the end of the tunnel.”
England needs “a GP practice that cares about the welfare of its staff just as its staff cares about them
well-being of their patients” and enable GPs “to thrive,” he said.
Before the pandemic, GPs booked 24 million appointments every month, but today’s latest stats show that this October, GPs booked 36 million appointments in just one month.
BMA surveys of GPs have shown that they “often do 60, 70, 80, 90 consultations a day,” said Dr. Sharrock.
“It’s not safe for you. This is not safe for your colleagues. It’s not safe for your patients,” he said.
“25 to 35 contacts per day per GP is safe, so for our well-being and that of our patients we need to find a way to get back to that safe level of work.”
The BMA last month suggested they can return to safe appointment levels by moving to a waitlist system.
And today said Dr. Sharrock: “To achieve that goal, we may need to open up our appointment calendars and book patients further in advance.
“We know there are concerns about taking such action and the impact it can have on patients. But we are the only ones who can take steps to control our workload, protect our well-being and ensure the safety of care for our patients.
“We need your help, the help of LMCs, to engage with the practices in your areas to support them
if you want to implement this change. We must all work together to protect the well-being of ours
Family doctor colleagues, practice staff and patients.”
The record number of appointments comes despite a 1,900 drop in GP numbers since 2015, instead of the government’s promised thousands of additional GPs, Dr. Sharrock.
And he said: “Increased workloads, reduced manpower and negative rhetoric create a cumulative strain on our well-being.
“We know all too well the telltale signs of overwork and the onset of burnout: we leave our offices late, exhausted and drained.
“Two-thirds of GPs report suffering from work-related depression, anxiety, stress, burnout or emotional distress.
To that end, the GPC intends to remain focused on the well-being of GPs, he said, because “we know that this path cannot continue for GPs if they are to survive”.
Referring to the tragic case of Dr. Gail Milligan earlier this year warned that she is not the only colleague overwhelmed by the workload of GPs.
“The death of Dr. Gail Milligan earlier this year wasn’t the first in general medicine. We have a duty to do so
Think of Gail and other colleagues in making every effort to protect everyone’s well-being
Colleagues in general medicine,” he said.
He went on to say that the key to solving the workload problems lies in reforming the GP contract by cutting red tape and ending the hunt for “pots of money”.
‘We will be involved in upcoming contract negotiations for 2023 and especially 2024
Prioritizing bureaucracy reduction at every turn and increasing flexibility. to allow you so high
trained professionals to exercise your professional judgment on the most effective manner of delivery
The LMCs conference in England today will vote on a large number of motions that will set the direction of the GPC’s work for the year.
These include whether all GP practices should declare themselves “in need of improvement” to the CQC to highlight the uncertain level of care caused by the shortage of doctors.
The conference also discussed shortening the core time to 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m., since the current requirements discriminate against general practitioners who are willing to have families and, due to the “still patriarchal society”, in particular female general practitioners.
Tomorrow, behind closed doors, LMCs will also discuss key priorities for upcoming GP contract negotiations, including controversial proposals to privatize or end patient lists.
dr Sharrock said: “We need a contract that will allow us to manage our workload effectively so that we can provide quality, ongoing care that we know patients value above all else.
“Continuity of care is valued by patients and general practitioners and is the most valuable principle of general medicine. This principle has been eroded by a relentless workload. We need to make sure that no new contracts are set
Continuity over the goals.’
But if this isn’t delivered by the government, GPs must be prepared to act through industrial action, stressed Dr. Sharrock.
He said: “The GP practice cannot continue on its current course if it is to survive. If we cannot agree on a viable contract with the government, we must be prepared to take collective action
to protect the foundation of the NHS, which is common practice.
“To make progress, we must be united as a profession. We have to stick together as a profession. We must
speak with one voice as a profession. As a profession, we are much stronger together.”
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