Introduction by David Sawers
We’ve all skilled that sinking feeling when, having held on for an age, you lastly get via to your GP receptionist, solely to search out the earliest appointment is every week, probably extra, away.
This isn’t to criticise hard-pressed GP practices. Again within the spring, the British Medical Affiliation warned that 9 out of 10 GPs have been at “very excessive” threat of burnout, an image echoed throughout the NHS, with NHS England’s common employees survey highlighting worrying ranges of stress and sickness, each bodily and psychological.¹
However, as we present on this information, the mixture of our ageing inhabitants, the unfold of complicated and sometimes power co-morbidities, funding constraints and employees shortages is pushing the NHS to breaking level. And that is most keenly felt in main care, though (as we additionally spotlight) main care is changing into more and more multi-disciplinary in its prognosis and remedy. Alongside this, our expectations as sufferers are altering. More and more, we count on to have the ability to entry providers ‘on demand’, on the click on of a mouse or swipe of a smartphone. We would like tailor-made solutions to what’s worrying us about our well being, ideally rapidly.
That is the place, as Medical Options has argued, non-public GP providers can play an vital function in supplementing NHS care by offering handy entry to clinicians remotely, over the telephone, by video and on-line. You could notice I’ve emphasised (as does Medical Options) the phrase ‘supplementing’, as I believe this is a crucial level to make. Non-public GP providers should not about changing the NHS or changing entry to NHS care. Nor are non-public GP providers a panacea. They’re not going to resolve this nation’s urgent public well being challenges (weight problems, coronary heart illness and diabetes specifically). They’re not going to rework grownup social care or magic away ready instances for secondary care.
However, with the assistance of insurers and intermediaries, these revolutionary non-public sector options do have the potential to unlock at the least a number of the entry pressures and pinch-points we more and more expertise after we interact with the NHS. And that may solely be a very good factor.
¹ ‘Supporting the psychological well being of medical doctors and medical college students’, BMA, April 2019, https://www.bma.org.uk/collective-voice/policy-and-research/education-training-and-workforce/supporting-the-mental-health-of-doctors-in-the-workforce; ‘NHS England survey reveals “alarming downturn” in employees wellbeing’, The Guardian, February 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/feb/26/nhs-england-survey-reveals-alarming-downturn-in-staff-wellbeing