The BMA has produced some new guidelines on delivering safe patentee care (the complete documents can be downloaded from our “Latest Guidance” page. It is in response to GP workload having now reached unmanageable proportions, against a backdrop of escalating demand, which has far outstripped our impoverished capacity, and which is seriously impairing our ability to deliver the care our patients need.
GPs are trying to square an impossible circle; many working 12- to 14-hour days, seeing up to 50 patients — including those with complex needs — on a conveyor belt of 10-minute slots, added to by numerous telephone consultations, daily home visits, ploughing through a mountain of hospital correspondence, test results and repeat prescriptions, writing reports, making referrals, attending meetings, as well as the rigours of running a GP practice.
No wonder the recent BMA quarterly tracker survey showed that the percentage of GPs describing their workload as ‘unsustainable’ was 74 per cent — higher than for any other category of doctor.
Funding cuts to individual practices via imposed changes to the MPIG (minimum income practice guarantee) and PMS (personal medical services) reviews are exacerbating the problem, while other practices are struggling to provide services with unfilled GP vacancies.
In this intense, pressured climate, it is crucial that the safe provision of care to patients remains GPs’ overriding priority, at a time when practices are undermined from doing so by excessive, inappropriate or unresourced work.
Quality First: Managing Workload to Provide Safe Patient Care is a handbook to empower practices with practical tools, including model templates, to manage workload and to shape demand, in order to fulfil their responsibility to deliver essential services to patients.