With GP’s under increasing pressure it is hardly surprising that practices are looking at ways to reduce the burden on them by introducing more automation into the patient system. Described in the BBC article as ‘budget airline-style care’ practices are introducing a range of measures that reduce the interaction between patient and doctor, such as self service blood monitoring and electronic repeat prescriptions. Whilst this gives doctors more time to spend with patients who really need it, it is also sad that the relationship that has maintained many people through chronic and life changing illness is being eroded. Those that are elderly with multiple health issues or chronic conditions have long depended on their GP to help them through life. In many practices this care is being transferred to nurse practitioners, who maintain the continuity so needed by this group of patients. Nurse practitioners are highly skilled professionals who can deal with many things themselves, even prescribing medication. They have the knowledge to be able to refer to a GP when needed. This should not be seen as budget care but as a good alternative to GP contact.
It s easy to see that for the elderly or less able person it must appear that barriers are in the way of them getting the care they need. We all know how difficult it can be to get an appointment with a doctor and sometimes it is easier to play the ‘wait and see’ game than go through hoops required to get an appointment. How many of us know we have to ring the surgery first thing to try and get an appointment only to be met with an engaged tone?
There is no easy way to resolve the problems but considering a budget airline style GP practice will make many of us shudder at such a thought.
To view the BBC article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-36427568