Intended for healthcare professionals


Five things bothering GPs right now

BMJ 2023; 380 doi: (Published 03 February 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;380:p258
  1. Jennifer Richardson,
  2. Gareth Iacobucci,
  3. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

The BMJ has spoken to GPs around the UK about the NHS crisis and—among general workload concerns—many of them raise these specific problems

They can’t get patients to hospital appropriately—putting GPs at risk

An inability to secure appropriate hospital transfer for patients is a common concern among GPs—as is the risk of the decisions they are having to make as a result.

Georgie Budd, a trainee GP in Mountain Ash, Rhondda Cynon Taf, and co-chair of the BMA Welsh Junior Doctors Committee, recently had to call out the air ambulance for a 9 month old patient with respiratory distress for whom a land ambulance could not come quickly enough, she says.

Geraint Preest, a GP partner in Pencoed Medical Centre near Bridgend, had a consultation last week with a “gravely ill patient who needed immediate transfer to the hospital.” He dialled 999 and was given a six to eight hour window of response, “which was unfortunately way too long a response for this patient,” who then had to be sent to hospital by car. “Ordinarily he would have been too unwell to go by car but we had no choice—it was that or nothing.”

Yorkshire GP Zoe Norris, chief executive at Humberside Local Medical Committees, suggests that GPs need guidance about what they should do if an ambulance doesn’t arrive. She gives local examples of a GP who sat with a patient in the surgery until an ambulance finally arrived in the middle of the night, and another who came across someone who’d fallen in the road, probably with a fractured hip. “They were told it would be four hours for …

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