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Practice nurse pressure spiralling, suggests survey

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Patient care is “deteriorating” due to rising workloads, according to half of the GP practices that responded to a survey by the British Medical Association.

The BMA survey of almost 2,900 GP practices – just over a third of practices in England – asked about their current workload.

“These figures clearly show that general practice is in a state of emergency”

Beth McCarron

Over half of the responding practices reported that their quality of service had deteriorated in the past 12 months.

More than half also said their workload was ”unmanageable” a lot of the time, while 13% said it was “unmanageable” all of the time. Just 2% of practices said their workload was ”low” or ”generally manageable”.

In addition, 92% reported that there had been a rise in demand for appointments in the past 12 months.

The West Midlands region had the highest level of unmanageable workload, while the South of England reported the biggest deterioration in patient care.

The BMA said it had produced a heatmap of parliamentary constituencies showing the worst affected areas and that it would be launching a new initiative for practices called an “Urgent Prescription for General Practice”.

It will include sending every GP practice in England a package of support materials, including guidance on how to manage workload safely.

Dr Beth McCarron, a member of the BMA’s GP executive team, said: “These figures clearly show that general practice is in a state of emergency, with the majority of GP practices across England registering a deterioration in the quality of care being delivered to patients.

“This is clearly the result of rising workload, including increasing patient demand for appointments, which is placing unsustainable pressure on GP services that have been starved of resources and staff,” she added.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Yes this is true for practice nurses and gp practices but this has a knock on effect for inappropriate referrals that district nurses receive on there also busy caseload . Perhaps the gp surgery should open at weekend like all other NHS services to cope with all there patients.

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  • 05.50 just on my way to work as a practice nurse, will be checking equipment etc unpaid starting 06.20, pay starts at 0700 when the patients get seen. It is a pork pie that we do not work out of hours.
    Agreed about pressures. Getting 4 patients in 1 appointment on average day.

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