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.

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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.


For more of Lee’s thoughts, follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn

 


Now GP Partners with Medex Protect to Tackle Staff Sickness Through New Scheme

Now GP’s video consultation system is one of several benefits offered to businesses through Medex Protect’s new ‘Sick Pay Protect’ scheme.


Now GP, the medical diagnostic branch of Now Healthcare Group, is partnering with medical insurance company Medex Protect to provide businesses with a new type of insurance cover to help manage sickness absence and gain reimbursements of statutory sick pay (SSP) payments.

A company at the forefront of medical insurance development, Medex Protect has created Sick Pay Protect to grant businesses access to a unique policy designed to combine the benefits of effective absence management with greater financial freedom and assurance.

The Sick Pay Protect policy will refund SSP contributions to businesses for up to 28 weeks if employees are absent from work for a minimum of seven days. It includes effective risk management via embedded pre-commencement screening, online risk assessments and access to Now GP’s state-of-the-art online remote video consultation primary healthcare service to grant employees instant access to a GP.

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Jason Dunks, commercial director of Medex Protect, said:

“Access to private GP appointments on a same day basis will not only be a valued benefit to scheme members, it will reduce absence costs for the employer associated with the positive benefits derived from prompt access to primary care support at the outset of an illness.”

Now GP is the world’s first mobile app to provide those unwell with a remote consultation with a professionally-certified GP and the delivery of medicines directly to their home or office. Established with both technology and medical knowledge in mind, the platform brings a wealth of benefits to businesses and HR departments looking to provide their employees with a benefit-in-kind free health service to help take the hassle out of healthcare and reduce staff sickness.

Employee absence costs UK businesses collectively £29 billion each year, with Now GP acting as an effective solution for short-term staff sickness. Patients are able to speak to an MRCGP-certified GP at a time to suit them, with medicines delivered overnight or in as little as two hours in central London.

CEO and Founder of Now GP and its parent company Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, said of the new partnership:

“Now GP is delighted to be working alongside Medex Protect to offer UK businesses an effective primary care solution as part of the company’s new innovative absence management product. Instant access to a GP is the key to tackling the issue of short-term sickness in the workplace and we look forward to working on this exciting project in the coming months.”


 

View the Now GP promotional video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8gf7KH2gUE

Download the app from the App Store and Google Play.

 


10 Million Left Frustrated By Inconvenient NHS as Waiting Times Soar

In his regular blog, Founder and CEO of Now Healthcare Group Lee Dentith looks at the latest NHS news and why urgent action is needed to stop the system from reaching breaking point. 

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More and more people are now voicing their continued frustration with the National Health Service, with new damning research revealing that over ten million NHS patients per year are struggling to get an appointment with a GP. Crucially, it also reaffirms the fact that people in the United Kingdom are more dissatisfied with the service than ever before.

A mass survey of over one million patients has emphasised the problems that the NHS continues to face, with GP appointment waiting times, inconvenient opening hours and busy phone lines three of the most commonly-expressed complaints.

Incredibly, the number of patients who are forced to wait for one week or more to see a GP has risen by a third in just three years. This means that over ten million are unable to see a doctor in the same week when they fall ill.

The fact that the NHS is overstretched has long been known, but alarmingly this new report finds that some practices are closing for up to three and a half hours at lunchtime, or even closing up for full afternoons and weekends. With the number of patients unhappy with surgery hours rising to almost 75%, this is completely unacceptable, and cannot continue.


Here is a full breakdown of the shocking statistics uncovered by the survey (GP Patient Survey 2016):  

  • 18.7% of patients said their surgery was not open at convenient times – rising from 16% in 2012.
  • 18.1% of patients waited more than a week to see a GP – rising from 13.8% in just three years.
  • 11% of patients said they had failed to get an appointment at all – rising from 9.6% in 2012.
  • 10.8% said that GP receptionists were “unhelpful” – rising from 9.5% in 2012.
  • 25.8% said it was difficult to get through to a doctor’s surgery by telephone – a rise from 19.9% in 2012.

This makes for disturbing reading for patients and those involved in the healthcare industry. With growing reservations from GPs that David Cameron’s seven day onsite service ambitions would push an already struggling NHS closer to breaking point – especially if it were to be based on a continuation of its current model – these new figures will do little to convince us otherwise. Dissatisfaction with the NHS is rising, and rising at an incredible rate – we must implement major changes now to ensure that the nation is still provided with the healthcare system it deserves and that each person’s needs are catered for.

This is where Now GP is looking to change the current primary healthcare landscape. We’re looking to provide relief for our struggling NHS, with our mHealth solution able to provide GPs and surgeries with much-welcomed respite from  soaring demands, as well as offering patients an effective alternative to lengthy waiting times.

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With an MRCGP-certified professional doctor available at the touch of a button, the Now GP app can eliminate those early morning phone calls to your surgery and the inconvenience of having to wait several days for an appointment. We’re also looking to combat the country’s growing problem of staff sickness, and can deliver medicines and prescriptions straight to a patient’s home or office.

Dr Maureen Baker, Chairman of the Royal College of GPs, told The Telegraph that the health service was working harder than ever to meet increasing demand but lacked the resources needed to allow them to do their jobs efficiently and thoroughly. We share their ambitions to turn things around for UK healthcare – that’s why we’re providing the Now GP app to patients to help alleviate the pressure on our hard-working doctors and to provide better access to healthcare for all. You can find out more on the Now GP website, www.nowgp.com

 


You can read more of Lee’s thoughts on Twitter and LinkedIn.


 

 

 


Listen to GPs: 88% Will Not Consider Onsite 7 Day Contracts, and Attention Must Turn to mHealth

CEO and Founder of Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, discusses the concerns of NHS GPs over proposed onsite seven day access contracts and why mHealth is the only tangible solution to solve the nation’s continued healthcare crisis.  

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As the world of healthcare gets caught up in the whirlwind of chaos caused by today’s junior doctor’s strike, there’s been yet further damaging and detrimental news for the government:  a new survey has revealed that a monumental 88% of NHS GPs will not be willing to sign up to onsite seven day contracts.

David Cameron harbours ambitions for a seven day access service which will supposedly help to “get rid of the box-ticking and the form filling” whilst offering extended routine appointment times 12 hours a day, seven days a week. But with seven out of eight doctors defiantly expressing that they would not even consider signing such a contract, the reluctance of GPs to take the government up on their offer remains irrefutably clear.

The survey uncovered some very compelling information as to why our nation’s doctors are unwilling to take on this extra work, with concerns mounting that an increase in surgery hours would see the NHS’ already severely stretched resources and workforce pushed to breaking point. How can we expect our doctor’s to safely deliver care for patients seven days a week if a five day week is already proving impossibly difficult?

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Pulse gathered some hard-hitting quotes from GPs across the country which showed just how fiercely they are disputing this proposed hours extension. Some described the government’s plans as “foolhardy”, citing the poor performance of pilot schemes as a major factor behind the rejection of such intentions.

Speaking with GPs personally, I have found that the majority are in considerable doubt as to whether the increase of opening hours would equal an increase in funding for surgeries in the long term. If there were to be any funding increase, it would almost certainly not be enough to justify the additional work undertaken by doctors at weekends and evenings.

With a growing number of our nation’s healthcare staff becoming disillusioned with the strain being placed upon their profession, it seems clear to me and several others in the industry that a ramp up in pressure, hours and expense is exactly what the National Health Service doesn’t need. What it does need is an alternative – a way of introducing seven day access which doesn’t see doctors pushed to breaking point.

Seven day healthcare access is, of course, a fantastic proposition. It’s also fast becoming a necessary requirement to ensure that demand is met and that patients are left completely satisfied with their healthcare service. But, simply put, it isn’t at all feasible under the current NHS model and the traditional doctor’s surgery. Doctors will not work onsite seven days a week, and the system wouldn’t be able to cope if they did. The burden of healthcare needs to be shared in order to make it manageable, and at Now GP, that’s what we do.

Our technology has been developed over the last 18 months to combat this exact situation head on. Why increase strain on our healthcare professionals when they are already struggling to cope with the current excessive demands placed upon them?

The only tangible solution to the country’s continued problem is through the incorporation of our innovative mHealth service. Make seven day appointments possible, yes – but make them possible through a platform which lets our hard-working GPs decide when and where they want to work. This allows us to maintain the high standards of healthcare that our patients deserve, whilst helping to reignite a sense of passion in our industry amongst our healthcare professionals.


You can read more of Lee Dentith’s thoughts on both Twitter and LinkedIn.