Why people can’t get a GP appointment.
Insight into the pressure on GP’s
In Hamilton huge numbers of houses are getting built with no increase in the number of GP’s. The average number of patients per whole time GP in Scotland is 1500 but in Hamilton, it is 2000.
Everyone who has been waiting for hospital outpatients, elective surgery, etc, has been pushed back on the waiting list because of covid. All of those people are going to their GP asking for meds, updates, and extra help…
At the same time, a lot of people who held on to their minor problems last year are pitching up at their GP
At the same time, a lot of people who held on to their suspicious of cancer symptoms are pitching up at their GP.
There is a mental health crisis- where do people go first- their GP
Most of them need a referral, which is often delayed, due to the hospital backlog. So they come back to the GP again panicking that they can’t get their appointment/scan/tests etc.
111 is RAMMED. A+E is RAMMED. So those people pitch up back at the GP.
Meanwhile, the GP surgery, which was built pre-covid, has a waiting room that can only accommodate a dozen bubbles at best.
A huge amount of work normally done in hospitals is getting pushed onto GP’s with no extra resources.
This means only a couple of GPs and a nurse can see face to face at any time of the day. Otherwise, you have to make people wait either in a crowd or outside. So telephone triage is used to make sure only those who need to come down, actually come down.
Potential covid patients can’t be in the same waiting room as non-covid patients. Most surgeries only have one waiting room, so a lot of respiratory clinics are done at hubs. This allows the most vulnerable to come into the GP surgery for appointments, nurse checks etc.
So in summary: Demand is massively increased. Face-to-face facilities are substantially decreased. You can’t get the same number of patients in the building. Telephone appointments are increased.
GPs aren’t ‘hiding’. They’re holding up the shield in front of those in need. The elderly, the cancer patient, the kid with no immune system, against the person who is screaming abuse at their team.
To say that GPs haven’t been seeing patients during covid is like saying armed forces veterans didn’t actually serve in a war. Just because you didn’t see it or they didn’t win.
It’s not only untrue, it’s massively disrespectful. Not just to the doctors. Also to the nurses, pharmacists, HCAs, receptionists, surgery cleaners, admin, who put themselves at risk serving through the pandemic.
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