Average Patient Numbers Grow for UK Practices

In today’s blog, CEO and Founder of Now GP Lee Dentith looks at the alarming figures revealed by the Health and Social Care Information Centre and how this will affect patients.

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Today’s report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre further highlighted the worrying plight of our country’s healthcare service. Figures show that the average GP practice in the United Kingdom has seen its patient list grow by 2% in just eight months.

2% perhaps doesn’t sound that severe, but if you take into account that this represents about 169 additional patients for certain UK practices to deal with, it has the potential to be incredibly detrimental to the NHS’s ability to look after our nation’s primary healthcare safely.

It’s estimated by Pulse that, should this trend continue, the year on year growth rate for patient numbers in 2015-16 will be 3.5%. What we’re seeing is a significant drop in GP practice numbers combined with a 0.9% increase in the total number of patients registered with a GP across England. The numbers, quite simply, do not add up – we’re seeing local practices and surgeries close at an alarming rate, with as many as 25,000 patients set to lose access to their current GP in the rest of this year alone.

busy nhs waiting room

 

As patient numbers grow, this puts those remaining surgeries under increased pressure. More patients and less doctors can lead to several worrying conclusions, each having an injurious effect on those placed under this added and unnecessary strain.

We can expect these new figures to cause target waiting times to spiral further out of control. With more of us needing access to a GP for our primary healthcare concerns, but with surgeries busier than ever before, it seems clear to me that the health sector needs to think differently to ensure the level of care our nation is provided with does not diminish.

We need to think smarter about the way our patients can receive the primary care that they need, and attention must turn to more alternative, convenient services. In just three years we’ve seen the number of patients forced to wait for a week to see their GP increase by a third – this makes for staggering reading, and it’s imperative that something is done to help.

We live in a time when opportunities for digital and technical innovation are vast, yet the NHS – a pillar of our society for so many years – is dragging its heels and failing to appropriately adapt. We’re working hard to bring our mHealth solution to the masses in an effort to make healthcare convenient and accessible for everyone once again.


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80% of A&E Visits in Wales Are Unneeded

An NHS Wales chief has urged the public to consider alternative methods of primary healthcare in a bid to ease pressure on the overstretched accident and emergency departments at Welsh hospitals.

In an interview with the BBC, Chief Executive of NHS Wales, Dr Andrew Goodall, announced that a staggering 80% of patients who visited A&E units did not actually need to be there. He urged people with minor injuries and illnesses not to “clog up” accident and emergency departments this winter in order to avoid a repeat of last year’s busy period which led to one senior nurse compare pressures in Welsh A&E units to those of a “war zone“.

Dr Goodall said that “the vast majority of medical conditions do not need emergency care,” with the public encouraged to turn towards alternative methods of healthcare in order to find a solution to their primary care problems. Dr Goodall also highlighted the shocking fact that NHS Wales receives approximately 100,000 calls to its 999 number for issues which are deemed as non-urgent, which end up wasting the time and resources of those who are tasked with handling more serious health concerns.

Accident & Emergency Department

 

When people are choosing services in the wrong way, bypassing more convenient and accessible primary healthcare solutions and heading straight to A&E, this can seriously impact both the health service and the patient. Hospitals are under increasing pressure as A&E attendances continue to escalate and, as we approach flu season and the winter months, this pressure could harmfully affect the quality of care that patients receive. On top of this, patients who visit A&E unnecessarily are actually waiting far longer to be seen by a nurse or GP than is required.

The Now GP platform has been designed to ease pressure on increasingly-strained A&E departments across the country, providing patients and businesses with an effective telehealth solution for their short-term sickness concerns. By providing users with instant access to a live consultation with an MRCGP-certified GP via video call, Now GP eliminates the need for those who feel a GP appointment is too difficult to book to head straight to A&E looking for a quick diagnosis.

Now GP is the world’s first app to diagnose and deliver medicines, with our pharmaceutical conveyance platform providing customers with guaranteed delivery of their medicines in as little as two hours. To keep up to date with the latest Now GP news, you can follow us on Twitter: @DrNow.