GPs struggling to cope with changes ahead
According to numerous Local Medical Communities (LMCs), a ‘shocking’ amount of GPs are seeking pastoral support due to mental health issues and the stresses and strains of everyday practice. One has to believe that much of this increase is due to the significant effect that planned contract changes will have on GPs when they come into force.Recently, an LMC survey was conducted of approximately 2,700 GPs across the South West of England. 50% of those surveyed were considering quitting general practice, and 66% felt their practice would not be sustainable following the Government’s planned changes.Reported figures from one particular LMC showed as much as a four-fold increase in the amount of GPs attending pastoral care in the first half of 2012 against figures for the same time period in 2011.Dr Robert Morley, executive secretary of Birmingham LMS summed it up nicely stating: “It will only get worse as patients’ demands and expectations, fuelled by cynical and self-serving politicians, at the same time as the contract imposition slashes practice resources and the CCG agenda gives GPs statutory responsibility for rationing”.Ben Ward, a clinical negligence solicitor at Ashtons Legal, says: “What is most concerning is that the majority of members of the general public, the patients, do not yet seem to be aware of the issues and upcoming changes in the NHS. The new regulations concerning how the NHS will run are vastly complex and will serve to place a huge amount of additional pressure on individual GPs and their respective practices. These initial reports from the LMC seem to suggest that GPs are struggling to cope with what lies ahead. One has to question whether or not the whole system will implode before the new NHS commissioning regulations even come into force”.
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