GPs report worst Monday on record

Source: Practice Index

Practices have been deluged with record numbers of patients on the “worst” Monday on record, GPs warned last night.

Several prominent GPs reported on the numbers of patients calling their practices as the spread of viruses and fears about Group A Strep loaded pressure on services. The problems arose as the NHS had a day without strike action – with fears that this week’s strikes will aggravate pressure on practices and emergency departments.

Dr Rachel Ward, a GP in Berkshire who presents for the BBC, reported 1,400 calls yesterday, representing 8.5% of the practice list of more than 16,000. On Twitter, she reported: “There’s reports of nine hour waits in paeds A&E. (NHS) 111 GP callback lists with hundreds of people who won’t be called back. I fear my family getting ill right now!”

Dr Steve Taylor estimated, based on the GP reports, that three to six million people contacted practices yesterday – representing five to ten percent of the practice population. He said: “GPs are sinking under the increased demand for appointments yet still no support from NHS England.”

Dr Dave Triska, a former armed forces doctor working as a GP partner in the south-east, reported 366 requests from patients in a practice of 11,500 patients. At 15.42pm he reported “About to go past our previous single day record for patient requests,” adding “broken team, broken NHS”.

GP Dr Emma Nash reported: “Nearly 150 same-day requests today between two GPs. Inevitable drop in quality of interaction, bust a gut to ensue all were contacted and hopefully everyone safe. Can’t believe it’s come to this. Shocking. Even my robo-GP colleague found it tough and he’s invincible.”

GP Dr Phil Williams reported: “Literally double the usual emergency appointments. Some really sick patients. Such a high burden of illness. Entirely predictable and predicted.”

Doctors and staff working in emergency medicine reported similar pressures. Consultant Dr Khurram Iftikhar, a doctor in Sheffield, tweeted: “Probably the worst Monday I’ve ever worked. 17 years in emergency medicine, 12 as a consultant.”

In Scotland, the Lothian local medical committee reported: “Multiple practices reporting record levels of demand. Please use services wisely.”

Dr Alan Stout, chair of the British Medical Association’s Northern Ireland GP committee, warned at the start of the day: “There will be significant delays and difficulties today in all practices. At midnight last night there were nearly 400 calls in Belfast alone to be returned (by 2 GPs on the red eye). Huge and unsafe pressure for those involved.”

Dr Becky Haines, a GP in Gateshead, reported: “Well today was a whole new level. Over one hundred patients on the same day triage screen by 11.30am (usually it’s 60 in a full day).”

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