What is #1careRevolution?
Primary care (known on twitter also as 1care) is seeing a shift. Increasing workload, increasing demand, increasing expectations on a background of reduced real term funding and a media that seems determined to showcase only the bad, and hide the exceptional good done by the hardworking staff in the NHS.
Look on twitter, on the blogs, on forums. Analyse the media. Talk to colleagues, to staff. Primary care is buckling. Propped up by GPs, nurses, doctors and admin staff that put patients first on a daily basis, and have been doing so for years.
Oh and don’t forget the workforce time bomb.
The daily challenges that face each member of Primary care seem daunting.
So what can be done?
The RCGP launched its #putpatientsfirst campaign designed to highlight some of these points. This includes doing 90% of NHS work for less than 10% of the NHS budget and how by campaigning to your MP, the RCGP can aim to increase funding to Primary care. This has been submitted with 300 000 signatures to its name.
The BMA launcher its own campaign #yourGPcares. This focuses on workload, premises and workforce issues.
I feels these are useful aims, but more needs to be done. Money and awareness is not enough.
How often as a GP have you been left frustrated by not being able to help a patient in need because of red tape, lack of resources or lack of understanding by other parties?
How often have you had unrealistic expectations by patients or services thrust upon you, fuelled by here say and poorly justified information, resulting in equally unsatisfactory consultations for patients and GPs?
How often have you had colleagues in both primary care and secondary care ‘dump’ work on you. Leave you juggling multiple balls, wasting minutes to days of valuable time trying to sort out issues which could easily have been dealt with more appropriately by others, taking you away from patient care?
How often as a GP have you been tarnished with that most hateful of slurs ‘just a GP’?
We need change.
We need to educate clearly, communicate universally and as a profession, as a country we need to back Primary care.
We need a #1careRevolution.
We need to educate and communicate with patients about how valuable a good GP can be, but also how to use Primary care and GPs effectively. Not to use us for self limiting illnesses but to manage their true health needs.
We need to educate and communicate better within our teams and peers. To highlight what is appropriate for a GP to be doing. We need to bring the apprenticeship model back into training and stop focusing purely on making good patient communicators and start making competent AND confident GPs both during and after training.
We need to educate and communicate better with secondary care. Highlight what in general practice we can and also what we should not be doing to make sure we continue to offer sustainable, effective patient care.
We need to have better communication with our representative bodies like the RCGP and BMA on issues that affect us as a GPs, not just the clinical, but indemnity, revalidation, supporting faculties and valuing our membership regardless of how we use our membership.
We need to back primary care so that other parties: patients, peers, colleagues, employers, politicians and third party groups better understand what primary care and GPs are truly capable off when valued, not just financially but also in terms of our diverse abilities.
As I said we need change.
We need education, communication and to back Primary care.
We need #1careRevolution.