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Are GPs the answer to everything?

The CQC says GPs should be more involved in end-of-life care. It stated that more could be done to ensure that GPs were “the essential link between practices, hospices and hospitals for patients approaching the end of their lives”.

  • Are GP’s the answer?
  • Is that not the role of the palliative care team?
  • Can GP’s possibly take on more work?
  • Was this not their role in any event?

Each day we hear calls for GP’s to extend their hours and work weekends. Without further funding and less paperwork (CQC Inspections and revalidation) how is this going to be possible?

There are NHS campaigns to stop surgeries getting clogged up with worried well and runny noses by sending them to pharmacies and walk in centres. That may divert some patients from the waiting room but it is really not so simple at that. Practices are critical of the much of the paperwork which is repetitive and non-case progressive. What is needed is an understanding and resolution of the issues as to why GP’s are so overworked and underfunded and make genuine inroads into quality and safety. Paperwork is all well and good if it ensures patient safety and human factors training is essential if we are to reduce preventable deaths in the NHS.

General workloads have increased over time and there is little time left for doing all that is needed or required. The palliative care teams have taken over many aspects of the GP’s role and many commentators have stated that ‘protocols and care pathways’ have removed a lot of the supportive personal discussion empathy which is needed for end of life care. If GP’s are to now co-ordinate end of life care then they must be given more time and funds to look after poorly people.

A call to arms is insufficient without a structured plan.

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