Every patient wants "Rapid access to my own GP." Based on a GP innovation, and with some of the pioneering GPs, I founded Patient Access in 2011 as a social enterprise with the vision to make this a reality for all patients, "to transform access to medical care." Dozens of practices have made it their own.
Before then, I undertook the research which links this simple method with 20% lower A&E attendances, as well as improving GPs working lives. Research continues with new areas including design and measurement for doctor-patient continuity, linked with lower referrals as well as higher satisfactin.
Dear Anonymouse 9.54 Your point about not just patients who take the line of least resistance is true of GPs and indeed all of us. We must live with human nature, and make it easier to do the right thing. This is sustainable, while legislating against human nature can never work. I'm not sure that GPs would agree with you that they are now "in charge". 80% of CCG responsible officers are not GPs, and I think less in the management of the system has changed than the rhetoric claimed. I'll stop making the point about anonymity when it is only used to protect sources from bullying. Sad that you name me to criticise a point but don't sign it yourself. We won't get high quality public debate that way.
Rick, brilliant on the miasma of supply of medical services to the public. Build it and they will come. I hesitate to use the words "emergency" or "urgent" because to a patient, they just have a problem. Urgency is very often subjective, at least until a clinician has seen it. Patients do the easiest and safest thing, in their perception. So our task in designing and operating the system is to make it easier and safer for them to do the right thing. Building more capacity in A&E at £110 per visit is a counsel of despair. There is no possibility that we can afford it. Making it easier to see your GP at £70 per patient per year is so obviously better I don't know why I need to repeat it. Primary care is the jewel in the NHS crown and you only have to look at systems abroad which rely more on hospital A&E and less on the continuity of a local GP to see why. And dear anonymice, here's a Youtube of you squeaking. Sweet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSJV8H-8UxA
Good to see that the SoS has done a thorough analysis of the root causes of the A&E spike, examined all the evidence for options to deal with them, and made a considered decision to implement a novel strategy dubbed "throw money at it."
Comment on: Our duty to comment and criticise
All the very best Andy. And if you could do one thing, please keep the anonymice down. They are tiny little pests who nibble away at the credibility of your august journal. Just occasionally someone needs to protect an identity from the danger of bullying, but most of the time they are just failing to stand up for their own views. When the cloak is used for personal attacks it's a disgrace. First step: could you please put "anonymously to protect me from bullying" in small type under a big bold "Use my Display Name because I will stand up and be counted". Thanks Andy.
Andrew, yes, "people choosing to use acute trusts rather than GPs". I think you are right. And I don't think it's because they are wrong to do so, just that it's hard to see you own GP and when fear takes over, people won't wait. We need to make it easier for people to do the right thing. Most often, it's to talk to their own GP. I discovered the link 3 years ago when I was looking at just this phenomenon, the rise in A&E. But now we know what to do about it, and we are doing it.