Sara Stanger, Solicitor at Your Legal Friend responds to Sir Bruce Keogh’s proposed reforms of A&E services and his call for GP surgeries to take patients from A&E departments:
“Sir Bruce Keogh is right in saying that patients need easier access to GP surgeries. Our recent British Health Report found that nearly three quarters (71%) of Britons are delaying going to the doctors and over half (52%) do so because it takes too long to get an appointment. In addition, longer opening hours is the top change patients would make to the NHS.
“It isn’t just patients calling for change. As it becomes more difficult for patients to obtain an appointment and frustrations at securing an appointment are causing people to delay seeing their doctor, over half of doctors (55%) admit that there has been a negative impact on the recovery of those patients who have delayed. It makes sense that if GP surgeries are open out of hours , this will have the knock-on effect of lightening the load for A&E departments.
“Change is clearly essential, but consideration must be given to GP’s workload. The Royal College of General Practitioners recently reported that some GPs are routinely working 11-hour days. If we simply add more work without additional staff support, the standard of medical care will inevitably decline.”