Members of our Management Team often respond to general queries from patients asking how aspects our GP Practice and NHS Primary Care Services work. We have created this space to place Patient Queries alongside Managements Responses help patients understand a little more about how our Primary Care Network (PCN) works.
(Please note that this is a new feature, further Q&As will be posted as we move forward)
...It would help to know the reason for this. Without knowing I can only conclude that either there is only funding for X number of hours, and this solution keeps more GPs in employment and provides experience for the newly qualified. Alternatively, GPs are so well paid that they don't need to work more than the hours they do!
These conclusions are probably very unfair. If so, there are probably many others thinking on the same lines, and it would help our understanding to know the basic whys and wherefores. No one wants GPs to be so over-worked that their own health suffers.
I also wonder how much the value of our pharmacists is recognised by the Practice and the NHS in general. They are on their feet almost all the working day in contrast to the doctors who sit at their computers or phones.
None of this means I am not grateful for the near 50 years during which I have been a patient at St Andrew's.
(Received July 2022)
...While the GPs do tend to work less days a week it may be useful to clarify the length of their usual working day which averages 10 hours but more realistically extends to 12 in order to complete all the work required outside of consulting with patients. With this in mind a full-time GP typically works four days/ 40 hours a week.
Just like the entire working population there are various reasons why some GPs choose not to work full-time. Some have other posts in other roles in an area in which they specialise. Some have young families and other commitments. Indeed as you have acknowledged, for many they choose to work fewer days to ensure they maintain their own physical and mental well-being while employed in such a highly pressured often stressful environment.
At Foundry we have successfully recruited two new additional Salaried GPs and replaced our part-time retiring Partner, Dr Frauke Dingelstad with a new full-time Partner Dr Dan Elliott. We currently have the equivalent of 18.75 whole time GPs and a patient list size of 28, 200 patients. Funding does play a part in the decisions made regarding our workforce and of course these are limited. However it is important to look at the entire workforce and not just the GPs in isolation as they work alongside a multidisciplinary team of practitioners including a Paramedic, two Clinical Pharmacists, an Advanced Nurse Practitioner, four part-time Musculoskeletal Advance Care Practitioners, two Social Prescribers, three Mental Health practitioners, a team of Nurses and a team of Care Co-ordinators. This approach ensures we are able to offer holistic care for our patients and direct them to the right practitioner at the right time. More information about the whole Foundry Team and the roles covered is available on our website here: https://www.foundryhealthcarelewes.co.uk
To ensure continuity of care for those patients with long term conditions, our GPs work within one of three teams. We encourage patients to see the same Doctor or a member of their team and our appointment system has been carefully designed to enable this.
We agree that the Community Pharmacists also provide a valuable service and we work very closely with them, signposting patients to them where appropriate.
We do value your feedback and I hope this has provided some clarity on the issues you raised.
Let us know by using the feedback section on our Patient Collaboration Form
(Paper copies can be found in all our practice sites, just speak to reception)