29 June 2017

Time-wasting patients pushing GP services to brink of collapse, says Britain’s new top doctor

TIME-wasting patients are helping to push GP services to the brink of collapse, says Britain’s new top doctor.

People with snotty noses and sore throats or with pointless paperwork to fill in clog up surgeries, according to Dr Chaand Nagpaul.

Sniffles… patients with colds are clogging up GP surgeries, warn doctors

They are to blame for one in four unnecessary consultations, equivalent to 97.5million a year,  says Dr Nagpaul, who  becomes chairman of the British Medical Association today.

His comments came as the BMA agreed to a new system of “black” alerts for GP surgeries to warn patients  they cannot treat anyone else.

Family doctors have 50million more appointments a year than they did five years ago.

It means some patients have to wait weeks to see a doctor, yet clawing back the one in four wasteful appointments would be the equivalent of employing 10,000 more GPs.

Dr Nagpaul told the BMA annual meeting in Bournemouth general practice was “on the brink of collapse”.

But he laid the blame partly on patients with trivial complaints or who could have seen another health professional.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul says GP services are on the brink of collapse due to unnecessary consultations
Times Newspapers Ltd

He said: “You would be surprised the number of patients who see us for hay fever, a huge number, huge.

“They can easily go to the pharmacist.”

He also highlighted people needing GP support to claim benefits and schools demanding children have medical notes for asthma inhalers as time-wasters.


Some patients are now having to wait for weeks to see a GP[/caption]

The  proposed black alert system for GPs will be like one used by A&Es when they are at breaking point.

Dr Peter Holden, who put forward the idea at the BMA meeting, said: “This is vital to maintain safe systems and care.”

  • A third of people with long-term conditions such as asthma and arthritis have not picked up their prescriptions because of cost, a poll shows.
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