Tag Archives: primary health

What are GPs for?

For some considerable time now, waiting times to see a GP (in Grumpy’s patch at least) have stretched out to be 3 – 4 weeks, or worse. That rather begs the questions about, if not the role a GP plays, but to how that role is being radically transformed from its original conception.

If one sustains a minor injury, say, in the garden which requires cleaning and dressing, or a sprain which required strapping up, then attention is required quickly, and 3 or 4 weeks is not an option. The result is likely to be a trip to Accident and Emergency (A&E) at a local hospital.

An individual might develop some other illness (say some for of viral attack) which appears not to be clearing up, and indeed worsening , then again a wait of a month would not be a sound course of action, and a visit to A&E would be in order.

These are but two examples of how small incidents which in days of yore would be in the remit of a local GP are now driven to drain resource from pressured A&E departments.

It would seem that GP services have been relegated to routine scheduled monitoring (say for pregnant women), addressing the needs of those with long term chronic illnesses and essentially for activities which can be (a) scheduled and (b) have no element of urgency about them.

Everyone from patients to politicians knows that unless there is integration and coordination between social services, primary care (including GPs) and hospital services then there will continue to be resource mismatches and basically an inefficient hotch potch of support. Time to rethink how the NHS and Social Services work together.