‘A lot of people are suffering!’ Doctors slammed for calls to cut ‘core’ opening hours

Jeremy Vine panel discuss GP opening hours

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Dawn Neesom has declared patient attempts to access local healthcare to be “pointless” as GP surgeries remain shrouded in “hazard tape” following the coronavirus pandemic. The journalist announced efforts to access GP care were comparable to “getting into Fort Knox,” the highly guarded US army base. In discussion with Jeremy Vine, she declared patients were forced to turn to “quicker” emergency healthcare services to prevent delays in essential treatment. Ms Neesom speculated the failure of GP services to accommodate local communities would place “a lot of pressure” on emergency services. 

Ms Neesom sympathised with patients suffering “pain” who faced severe delays when accessing GP services.

The journalist explained online appointments were failing to address immediate health concerns such as “broken bones” and other symptoms that require physical examination.

She explained most GP surgeries had dismal “three week waiting times” for appointments.

Ms Neesom also expressed concerns that vital appointments surrounding long-term health conditions, including cancer, could be delayed by a lack of GP availability.

In an interview with broadcaster Jeremy Vine, Ms Neesom detailed the account of a cancer patient who was unable to access their GP.

She explained the patient had been forced to turn towards private healthcare in order to receive the “unfortunate” condition of their prognosis.

The journalist speculated, had the patient been required to delay the appointment by a further three weeks, the prognosis could have been far worse.

She continued: “a lot of people are really suffering.”

Read more: Cancer: AI predicts tumour regrowth in patients

Ms Neesom continued her tirade against GP services with the shocking experience of a patient who was forced to pay for private care after he “couldn’t get an appointment”.

Having paid for private services, the patient was stunned to discover “it was his GP doing the private appointment within a couple of days”.

She highlighted as many as “six in ten GPs now only work a three day week,” severely restricting access to appointments.

Ms Neesom condemned the poor accessibility of local healthcare services despite the comfortable GP salary of “£100,000”.

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GPs across the nation are set to debate a reduction of general practice hours at the upcoming Local Medical Committee conference.

Members will discuss reducing core practice hours to a narrow eight hour slot between 9am and 5pm.

The LMC has proposed the motion as an “urgent action” to combat the “workload” of GPs.

The AVON LMC group has declared there is a “mismatch” between the capabilities of the current GP workforce and the pressure of patient demands.

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