GPs’ workload will be slashed to focus on ‘new national mission’ booster drive


Sajid Javid today admitted GPs’ workload will be shifted to focus on the booster campaign in a dramatic U-turn — as fears grow that face-to-face appointments with doctors will once again take the hit.

The Health Secretary said getting third doses into people’s arms to protect against the Omicron variant had become the ‘new national mission’, after months of strong-arming GPs into seeing more non-Covid patients in-person.

No10 last night set the target of offering more than 50million booster jabs to every adult by the end of January, which will involve massively ramping up the current drive which is barely reaching 2.5m per week.

GPs will once again be a key anchor of the vaccination programme and will be incentivised with doctors getting £15 for every jab delivered with a £5 bonus per shot delivered on Sundays and a £30 premium for jabs delivered to vulnerable people in their homes.

Asked if he would lighten the load for doctors who have complained about excess work, Mr Javid told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘Yes – this is our new national mission in terms of the public health of this country there is nothing more important. 

‘We are working at pace with GP representatives in the last two days, in how we can free up some of their time. I won’t set that out now myself, it will be set out by NHS directly.’

There are fears on what impact re-prioritisation will have on face-to-face appointments with GPs which only last month crept up to 64 per cent last month, but are massively below pre-pandemic levels.

There are also concerns about the wider impact the shift could have on non-Covid care, with record A&E wait times, and heart attack and stroke patients facing average waits for an ambulance of nearly an hour with Mr Javid himself warning last month that emergency care was being put under significant strain because patients were struggling to see GPs in person. 

Health secretary Sajid Javid has said the new 'national mission' for the health system was delivering vaccines, adding that there was 'noting more important'

Health secretary Sajid Javid has said the new ‘national mission’ for the health system was delivering vaccines, adding that there was ‘noting more important’ 

The above graph shows how the NHS waiting list could grow up to 2025. The National Audit Office warns if 50 per cent of missing patients return and demand grows at 3.2 per cent a year then the list could surge above 12million. But should the NHS manage to increase treatments dished out by more than 10 per cent a year then the list should stabilise at 8million in 2024 before falling slightly, they suggested

The above graph shows how the NHS waiting list could grow up to 2025. The National Audit Office warns if 50 per cent of missing patients return and demand grows at 3.2 per cent a year then the list could surge above 12million. But should the NHS manage to increase treatments dished out by more than 10 per cent a year then the list should stabilise at 8million in 2024 before falling slightly, they suggested

The proportion of cancer patients starting treatment within a month fell to the lowest level since records began in September, latest figures show. Records were started in 2009. The health service's own standards set out that 96 per cent of people should begin treatment, such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy, within 30 days of it being approved

The proportion of cancer patients starting treatment within a month fell to the lowest level since records began in September, latest figures show. Records were started in 2009. The health service’s own standards set out that 96 per cent of people should begin treatment, such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy, within 30 days of it being approved

In total 18million Britons have had a booster jab so far and, after yesterday's guidance change, all 53million adults over 18 will be eligible eventually. At the current rate of 2.4million jabs per week, it would take until March to get everyone boosted

In total 18million Britons have had a booster jab so far and, after yesterday’s guidance change, all 53million adults over 18 will be eligible eventually. At the current rate of 2.4million jabs per week, it would take until March to get everyone boosted

 

Noting the target that everyone should have received an offer of a third Covid vaccine by the end of January, Mr Javid added: ‘This is a huge thing we are trying to achieve – it is essential that we do this.’  

But doctors have warned other aspects of their work will have to take a backseat as they shift to pritoritising vaccines. 

Mr Javid famously entered into a war of words with GPs earlier this year, demanding they increase the number of face-to-face appointments and, at one-point, threatening the profession with a ‘name and shame’ system for underperforming surgeries.  

Responding to the increased booster drive vice chairman of the Royal College of GPs, Gary Howson hinted that decisions will need to be made on what kind of doctors can provide said: ‘GPs are already working to full capacity at the moment.

‘And if we’re going to divert our attention to the vaccination programme then there are some decisions that have to be made as to where we have most clinical value.’

Nodding to face-to-face appointments, Dr Howson added that GPs will have to prioritise some elements of their work in the coming months and called for greater Government support to slash the bureaucracy that eats into patient care. 

‘GPs are under immense pressure – we carried out 34m consultations in October, 2m more than September and 7m more than August and two thirds were face to face,’ he said.  

‘We need to understand what we will be able to stop doing. Tick box exercises, audits, and things that take us away from work and we need the Government to deliver on its manifesto pledges to bring in 6,000 more GPs, and 26,000 more team members by 2024.’ 

The Government has already drafted 400 army medics and 1,500 pharmacies are in to the booster campaign to turbocharge the pace of the rollout. 

But in potential a sign of things to come Dr Farah Jameel, chair of the BMA’s England GP committee yesterday said that less urgent appointments like routine blood pressure checks should go. ‘We are bound by these contracts. We have been calling for that to be lifted for months now. We are a burnt out workforce’, she said. 

‘What we are asking for a refocus of clinical priorities. We simply cannot deliver everything. We need to focus on clinical need. At this moment on time, the focus has to be on rolling out a monumental vaccination and booster programme and all hands on deck. We can deliver that but we are distracted by scattergun priorities. We do need to be released from contractual responsibilities’. 

If the number of face-to-face GP appointments suffers from the push for Covid boosters, it will be a blow to patients who have recently seen an uptick in being able to see doctors in person although the number is massively below pre-pandemic levels.

 NHS England data shows 64 per cent of GP appointments in October were face-to-face, compared to eight in 10 before the pandemic.

Last month, Mr Javid announced a £250million package for GP surgeries to help doctors offer more in-person consultations.

But the plans, which included ‘naming and shaming’ practices not offering sufficient numbers of face-to-face appointments, were rejected by doctors.  

Medics have argued some patients prefer virtual consultations because they are more convenient, but there are reports of vulnerable people not getting the access they desperately need. 

And coroners have warned that remote appointments may have contributed to deaths.  

One NHS chief executive said getting GPs to lead the vaccination rollout was ‘a very big ask, on top of many other very big asks’, adding it would be extremely difficult to hit the January target due to a lack of medics, volunteers and facilities.

And one GP practice manager tweeted: ‘Cash won’t make much difference, it’s the workload & workforce that’s the problem. Is not just jabbers but the back room engine tracking and calling patients, organising rotas, sorting out logistics etc’.

Boosters for all by JANUARY

Boris Johnson today unveiled the UK’s mammoth new booster vaccine drive as he pledged to deliver third doses to all adults by the end of January to shield the nation against the new Omicron supermutant Covid variant, after eight more cases of the strain were found in England bringing the UK total to 22 — but overall cases, deaths and hospital admissions fell, according to official data.

The Prime Minister announced he is drafting in the Army again to help deliver the programme and will offer GPs an extra £15 for every injection as he promised to deliver another ‘great British vaccination effort’. 

A £5 bonus will be given to GPs per shot if they do them on Sundays and they will get a £30 premium for shots delivered to the most vulnerable who are unable to leave their homes. The Government is also recruiting 10,000 more paid vaccine volunteers and ‘tens of thousands’ more volunteers to help with the mammoth drive.

But it will likely mean fewer face face-to-face GP appointments for non-Covid patients, which are already running at about a fifth lower than pre-pandemic level. 

Scientists have cautioned that the boosters will probably not give the same level of protection against  Omicron as they do against Delta because the new strain is so evolved. 

But No10 hopes that the top-up in immunity will give people at least some extra protection against the variant. 

The potential consequences of a lack of GP face-to-face appointments were laid bare yesterday after a National Audit Office report detailed millions of patients had missed out on vital care during the pandemic – and could now return to the health service to increase the backlog.  

One key aspect of this was between 240,000 and 740,000 ‘missing’ urgent GP referrals for suspected cancer from March 2020 to September 2021. And between 35,000 and 60,000 fewer people started treatment for cancer than would have been expected during this time frame.

The report authors said it is uncertain how many ‘missing’ cases will return to the NHS over the coming months.

But if 50 per cent seek treatment, and activity continues to grow in line with pre-pandemic plans, the waiting list would reach 12 million by March 2025.

The current waiting list for NHS care already stands at a record 5.83 million.

 NHS England data shows that in February 2020, just 83 per cent of patients were seen within the 18-week standard. By last month, this had fallen to 66 per cent. 

The NAO report also suggested Boris Johnson’s controversial new ‘health and social care levy’ would be inadequate to prevent hospital waiting lists continuing to soar. The report is likely to add to fears the NHS will swallow up almost all of the money from the new levy in the coming years, leaving little for the collapsing social care sector. 

Boris Johnson unveiled the ramped-up booster drive yesterday to shield the nation against the Omicron variant, after eight more cases of the strain were found in England. 



Source link

Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

LeBron James misses game after entering NBA’s Covid-19 protocols

Schoolboy found hanged by his brother in Lancashire village after he did not respond to dinner call