Lack of full-time GPs puts patients at risk of delayed diagnosis | Fieldfisher
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Lack of full-time GPs puts patients at risk of delayed diagnosis

Jenny Urwin
A recent report from the Health and Social Care Committee, describes how primary care is "in crisis" and that "despite the best efforts of GPs, the elastic has snapped after many years of pressure", which is "putting patients at risk" of serious health implications as a result of delayed diagnosis.

The report blames the failure to tackle doctor shortages has led to a decline in the GP-patient relationship. The latest figures show that fewer than a quarter of GPs work full-time meaning that scheduling an appointment with your doctor is like "booking an Uber driver you never see again." The decline in full-time GPs means they can no longer have individual patient lists, and therefore the ability to see the same GP has worsened. This obstructs the "continuity of care" which has been linked to reduced patient mortality.

The report comes just weeks after ministers launched a drive to improve access to GP services. Last month, the Health Secretary promised same-day appointments to those that need them and a guarantee no-one would wait longer than two weeks. However the Committee says this will not address the fundamental capacity problem causing poor GP access.

The report recommends:

  • an expansion of GP training places and initiatives to keep hard-working, experienced GPs in the profession longer, such as urgently resolving pension tax issues;
  • the return of personal lists, so each patient is assigned an individual GP. By 2027, 80% of GP practices should be using personal lists and 100% by 2030;
  • an increase in funding for the poorest areas which have the fewest doctors and highest levels of ill-health; and
  • the removal of reward-based systems which have become a “tool of micromanagement and risk turning patients into numbers.”

These recommendations aim to improve the declining GP-patient relationship and reduce the risk of serious health implications to patients due to delayed diagnosis.

Read more about our delayed diagnosis claims and GP negligence claims from our award-winning team of medical negligence solicitors in Manchester:

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