GP Patient numbers up by a 1,000

In Sept 2017 seven of eight practices in Folkestone applied for permission to close their patient lists on the basis that they were “unable to take on more patients safely.” The action was triggered after one local practice Folkestone East Family Practice (Dover Rd), was forced to hand its contract back to South Kent Coast Clinical Commissioning Group in May, prompting the CCG to order that the practice’s 4700 patients be reallocated to other local practices.

But the CCG rejected the practices’ application after a meeting held on Thursday 21 September 2017.

A year on the Folkestone East Family Practice – Dover Rd, (FEFP), according to NHS Digital data,  439 patients are still waiting to be allocated. How come it has taken the South Kent Coast CCG so long to re-allocate these patients?

Screenshot from 2018-12-01 22-45-33

As the chart above make clear 14 surgeries have seen an increase in numbers and four have seen decreases, one of those of course is FEFP, which closed on 31st Oct 2017. Now Damian Collins our MP for Folkestone & Hythe became involved and put out what appeared to be false information. A year on and he is silent on the fact that 439 patients still remain unallocated. What if anything has he done to help these 439 patients?  These patients who remain unallocated from Folkestone East are still be able to access GP services through any practice in their area, as an ‘immediate and necessary’ patient.

Between Nov 17 and Nov 18 four hundred and one patients have left the patient list in the Church Lane Surgery New Romney.  Are some of those who have left the surgery patient list  due to the lengthy queues and waiting times to get an appointment?

CL queues

The GP crisis has stabilised, however, the situation still remains precarious. This is due to the fact that one GP surgery is still rated inadequate and another requires improvement according to the Care Quality Commission.

These are:

Between them serve 10,992 patients or 9.5% of all patients in our district.

A British Medical Association (BMA) survey of GPs conducted in March 2018 found that “59% said waiting times for appointments have either worsened (31%) or significantly worsened (28%), with 33.3% stating they have stayed the same.”.

It was under the Coalition Government of David Cameroon & Nick Clegg the central performance target for seeing a GP within 48 hours was scrapped. In June 2018 a parliamentary response to a question asked by Grahame Morris MP made it clear there were no plans to re-introduce a maximum waiting time for a GP appointment.

The same BMA survey makes clear that 54% of GP’s reported that retention and vacancy rates have either worsened (37%) or significantly worsened (17%), with 37% saying they have stayed the same. Just 7.5% reported improvement.

49% said care delivery has either worsened (43.5%) or significantly worsened (5.5%) over the last two years, with 37% saying it has stayed the same.

75.5% said that the level of pressure in general practice has either worsened (32%) or significantly worsened (43.5%) over the last two years, with 19% saying things have stayed the same.

65% reported that their workload has worsened over the last two years, with 28% saying things have stayed the same.

These results clearly paint a worrying picture of the crisis facing general practice. They suggest that overall, GPs do not have confidence that things are improving, and the experience of many GPs is that things have actually worsened. We nor local GP’s we have spoken to privately see things getting better any time soon. Stay well, stay healthy people as the first wealth is health.

The Shepwayvox Team – Dissent is NOT a Crime.

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