Pulse February 2019 issue - Page 24

24 Best of blogs Practices warned not to stockpile locums as cliff edge looms Dr Samir Dawlatly indulges in a bit of fake (if oh-so believable) news Practices say they are struggling to obtain many common types of GP, including sessional GPs and partners. This is leaving patients complaining of delays in getting appointments and practices paying over the odds for locums. Pulse has found there has been a big rise in the number of healthcare professionals on the ‘shortage of supply’ list for England. There are a number of reasons why this has happened, but there are now fears that uncertainty over Brexit will only make things worse. The RCGP has spoken of ‘a massive shortage and price spikes’, and there is concern the situation could affect some practices’ ability to deliver services, and lead to higher costs for the NHS. Practices and patients in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland appear to be experiencing similar shortages. Stephanie, who has fibromyalgia – a condition that causes widespread pain – and hypermobility, wasn’t able to get a face-to-face appointment at her practice in December. The telephone consultation did not have the same effect. ‘I was in floods of tears with the pain. It was awful,’ she told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme. ‘It makes a massive difference in my condition. It’s difficult to explain how hard chronic pain is to deal with.’ Stephanie has experienced her GPs being out of stock before, but they usually reappear reasonably quickly. This time, the shortage has persisted. Patients are being advised to make sure they get appointment requests to their practice in good time. A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: ’We continue to work closely with industry and partners to ensure patients receive the appointments they need and practices are reimbursed fairly.’ ONLINE Read Pulse’s full range of blogs at pulsetoday.co.uk/ views Ministers have told manufacturers of branded and generic GPs – such as medical schools and locum agencies – to stockpile enough to staff six weeks’ worth of sessions so people will still get their appointments if there is a no-deal Brexit. Federations, practices and patients have been asked not to stockpile their own GPs. Potential supply problems because of Brexit have also led to Health Education England being asked to keep a ‘buffer stock’. But the DHSC spokesperson claimed there was ‘no evidence of current GP appointment supply issues linked to EU exit preparation’, despite similar problems being seen in the supply of pharmaceuticals. Dr Samir Dawlatly is a GP in Birmingham (With apologies to the BBC’s report on drug supply shortages) FREE CPD Pulse LIVE London 26 – 27 March 2019 Olympia London A two-day, free-to-attend conference for GPs and trainees. Join us to gain expert insight and clinical updates. Over 70% of tickets booked – don’t miss out, register for your free ticket today: www.pulse-live.co.uk/registration #pulselive Pulse February 2019