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Interesting but this is only half the story though. Some examples in a thread on the drivers of GP demand:
Long waiting lists in hospitals? Patients go back to their GPs for interim care. My rough rule-of-thumb is a two month wait creates a new GP contact for interim care.
Increased treatment thresholds. E.g. if the hip replacement threshold is increased, you have ill folk in serious pain who need intervention and they will need increasing GP time until they finally get over that threshold.
Increased mental health complications. On the two points above, ill folk waiting for treatment in hospital often deteriorate mentally, especially if they’re in severe pain or become functionally housebound. Who else looks after them except for GPs?
Still on mental health. Decreased MH capacity in both in- and outpatient MH means more increasingly ill people outside of the care capacity of the MH Trusts. Again, GPs have to help them, often wrecking daily schedules as MH urgent care can’t be done in 10/12/15 min appointments
Population growth. What’s the population of your local area? Google is your friend. What was the population 2 decades ago? Have new hospitals or GP practices been built in direct proportion? If not, those patients will go to increasingly stretched GPs as the hospitals won’t do.
Cut community care. 50% district nurse number cuts. These fantastic people have also had workloads increased and are a key workload cutter for GPs. Without DNs, who cares for their patients? GPs. Again. Add in the other community health cuts as well for extra impact.
Social care cuts in your area? Care homes shut and capacity cut? Where do these patients go when they need care and help in staying in their homes? GPs. Again.
Back to hospitals. Your local Trust working harder to get beds cleared because of capacity problems? Often that means patients with higher levels of illness discharged earlier than they should. These patients then become GP patients to treat.
Add into that urgent care. Has capacity reduced in your area? Fewer walk-in centres and so on? Patients go to their GPs instead, often needing urgent same-day appointments.
Then GP numbers, England has 58.1 GPs/100k population, Scotland has 76.2/100k. Also, Scotland has fewer of the negative points above. Those numbers do tell in workload as demand consequence multipliers.
I could go for a very long time on many more similar examples. Each of the above adds extra patient contacts to a GP’s daily list. THAT’s why there’s increasing GP waiting lists in addition to the points in the article.
p.s. many of the above can be used for A&E attendance number problems as well. If patients have nowhere else to go and are genuinely ill, why is there a surprise they go to the one place they get guaranteed care? It’s most certainly not the patients’ fault they go there.
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