Sunday, September 10, 2017 by Michelle Simmons
Surgery and dental services in England may soon be unavailable to new patients, according to reports by the Daily Mail.
Majority of England’s general practitioners (GPs) want to close their surgery lists to new patients in protest at the strain on the National Health Services (NHS), according to survey results reported in the first Daily Mail report.
About 1,870 senior or partner GPs took part in the survey which was conducted by the British Medical Association (BMA), doctors’ union, and a total of 54 percent of the senior family doctors said that they would be willing to temporarily suspend registrations.
They claimed that this drastic measure would enable them to focus their attention more on providing safe care to those patients already on their list. (Related: NHS doctors, nurses say government-run healthcare a dismal failure that puts lives at risk.)
The union also claimed that ministers have failed to invest enough money in surgeries at a time when demand from patients is increasing, due to the rising and aging population. GPs were also being expected to have more weekend and evening appointments without any extra funding nor staff.
The BMA said that it needs to speak to the government and ask for more funding and renewed efforts to hire GPs.
Dr Richard Vautrey, chair of the body’s GP committee, said in the Daily Mail article that ministers needed “to understand that this landmark survey sounds a clear warning signal from GPs that cannot be ignored, and that the workload, recruitment, and funding crisis in general practice must be addressed with far more vigor and commitment.”
“The BMA is now calling on ministers to work with us urgently to address this growing crisis which is threatening to overwhelm general practice. We cannot allow a situation where patient safety is being compromised by a lack of political action,” Vautrey expressed.
However, GPs could not close their surgery lists until they apply to NHS stating their reasons. NHS officials could only approve their applications if they could show that their lists are already very long and safety would be compromised by accepting new patients.
Many surgeries across England could be closed to new patients because of this and anyone moving home might have to travel a long distance to find a GP that would accept registrations.
Chief Executive of the Patients Association, Rachel Power, said that this survey is a powerful illustration of how patients are at risk because of this NHS backlash.
In April 2016, NHS bosses promised that they would add more budget and more GPs to ease the workloads in over five years; however figures show that GPs are decreasing instead.
NHS dentists are also declining new patients, according to the second Daily Mail report. People were reported to have ripped off their teeth out or tried to numb the pain on their own.
The British Dental Association (BDA) said that there is an “emerging crisis” in the NHS as patients are declined of services and are forced to pay privately or go without dental check-ups.
An analysis of 2,500 dental surgeries on the NHS Choices website revealed that 48 percent had closed their lists to new adult patients, while two-fifths had refused new children patients, as reported by the BBC.
The latest figures from NHS Digital showed that only 51.4 percent of adults saw a dentist in two years, while more than 40 percent of children failed to get a dental check-up in the previous 12 months. There were 11,155 vacant posts for dentists and doctors advertised between January and April alone.
“These figures are a stark reminder that government has no interest in getting more people attending an NHS dentist,” Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, chair of general dental practice at the BDA, told the Daily Mail.
“In place of indifference, we urgently require a coherent strategy and real commitment from (the) government,” Overgaard-Nielsen expressed.
Read more stories like this at HealthCoverage.news.