- Joy Morrissey said the money would motivate doctors to see more patients face-to-face
- She said more support for GP surgery could have a ‘trickle down’ effect
- It comes amid a growing row between doctors and ministers over the consultation.
Beaconsfield MP Joy Morrissey said paying for surgery to see more patients face-to-face or at home would put pressure on hospitals during the busy winter period in the NHS.
An MP today claimed that gram panchayats should get cash incentives for face-to-face meetings this winter.
Conservative Joy Morrissey, who represents Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, said the money would motivate doctors to see more patients in person.
And she told the Commons it could ease pressure on hospitals during the busy winter months for the NHS as it would have a ‘trickle down’ effect, preventing patients from going to A&E unnecessarily.
His comments come amid a growing row between medics and ministers over face-to-face consultations, which are below pre-pandemic levels.
There were about eight to 10 doctor appointments in GP surgery before Covid hit the UK precisely last March, but the latest figures for August were only 58 per cent face-to-face.
Health Department officials revealed plans to increase patient access, including a controversial ‘name and shame’ strategy.
But it faced an overwhelming backlash from family doctors, who have now threatened industrial action over the proposal.
The number of face-to-face GP appointments declined at the start of the pandemic when surgeries were asked to remotely see patients where possible. But despite normalcy at large in the country, in-person visits have yet to climb to pre-pandemic levels. The graph above shows the number of face-to-face GP appointments (red line) from the end of 2019 to the month
Mrs Morrissey said: ‘If we are to reduce the overall burden on the NHS this winter, finding a safe and secure way for more residents to see their GP will reduce the long-term pressure on the NHS.’
‘Perhaps it’s something that every time a GP sees someone in person they may get paid or extra paid to visit someone in their home.
‘In a way that reduces the additional cost of PPE as well as the additional risk of GPs having to see themselves in person during covid or during high levels of cold flu.’
NHS cancer care will be sacrificed again this winter if Covid cases spiral
Top doctors also claimed that the impact of the coronavirus on the NHS could halt survival rates over the next decade.
Critical treatment of thousands of cancer patients was canceled or postponed during the pandemic as staff and hospital beds were diverted to Covid.
Professor Mike Griffin, a leading cancer surgeon, admitted he worries ‘winter will hit again in the coming weeks’ due to pressures already facing the NHS.
He said problems could be caused by the increasing number of people attending A&E, the lack of hospital beds and the lack of nursing and social care.
Professor Pat Price, a consultant clinical oncologist, said politicians from the Health and Social Care Committee cancer units have been ordered to ensure that a tenth of their staff is available to be redeployed to the NHS frontline this winter.
And lawmakers heard how oncologists were redeployed to ‘clean bedpans’ on Covid wards or as ‘mortuary assistants’ instead of treating cancer patients.
Meanwhile, a patient revealed that she faced ‘Covid-related hurdles’ during her stage IV breast cancer care.
Cancer screening, referral and treatment services have all been disrupted due to the COVID pandemic.
According to the Institute for Public Policy Research, during the height of the crisis, from March 2020 to February 2021, 369,000 fewer people were referred to a suspected cancer specialist than expected.
Professor Griffin, President of Edinburgh’s Royal College of Surgeons, said that while a 10 percent improvement in cancer survival was seen from 15 years to 2019, it was unlikely to continue over the next decade.
He pointed to similar incentive schemes that were set up in some surgeries to screen for diabetes and cervical cancer.
Practices are currently funded based on the number of patients on their list.
Mrs Morrissey told lawmakers how her disabled mother-in-law’s stroke was misdiagnosed as a urinary tract infection because she could not see a GP during lockdown and warned that changes to virtual appointments were ‘fatal It is possible’.
The delay in her care caused ‘horrific damage’ and her mother-in-law ‘is now completely disabled and needs 24-hour care’.
She said: ‘I can say that I speak from experience. For several days my own mother-in-law was misdiagnosed as having a UTI when, in fact, she had a severe stroke.
‘Precious time wasted and terrible damage was done because he was not seen by a GP.
‘For every hundred diseases that can be safely diagnosed without seeing a GP, there will be one that won’t, one that can prove fatal, and that’s not worth the price.’
Amid growing calls for more in-person appointments, Health Secretary Sajid Javid earlier this month unveiled plans to give £250 million to surgery to increase the capacity for face-to-face consultations.
Plans also included publishing league tables that would exclude surgeries that do not see enough patients in person.
But the union for doctors, the British Medical Association, rejected the proposals and is considering voting its members on whether industrial action should be taken in response.
Dr Richard Voutre, the chairman of the BMA GP committee, wrote to GPs yesterday, asking them not to feel motivated to see more people in person and to refuse to take on new patients.
Dr Voutre told doctors he should not ‘feel pressure to return to the traditional ten-minute treadmill of face-to-face consultations’.
The union also advised GPs to reject multiple patients sent by hospitals or the NHS…