Indian-origin doctor warns UK government on country’s health service

Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, an Indian-origin doctor has warned the UK government that the health service of the country is at a very bad situation.

The head of general practitioners (GPs) and a chairman of the British Medical Association’s (BMA) GP committee, Nagpaul told the government that this situation occurred due to decrease in the funds and increased work of the doctors at the National Health Service (NHS).

At the annual conference of BMA, Nagpaul said, “Demand is outstripping supply. The patients we are seeing have more complex conditions and yet we still only have 10 minutes for each consultation – that is woefully inadequate. General practice is chronically under-funded and that is beginning to have an impact on the patient experience.”

Pointing to the figures showed by the Royal College of GPs, Nagpaul said that in 2005-06 the funding were at 10.7 percent which dropped to 8.4 percent of the total NHS spending in 2011-12. Actually, last three year figures show that there is a reduction of almost 450 million pounds in funding.

Dr. Chaand Nagpaul

Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, Chairman, BMA GPs committee, member BMA Council.

On the contrary, in the past five years, there has been an increase of around 40 million pound in the annual demand for appointments.

“We’re forced into providing a conveyor belt of care at breakneck speed, up to 60 times in a day, added to by an open-ended volume of phone-calls, home visits, repeat prescriptions, results, reports and hospital correspondence. This is unmanageable, exhausting and unsustainable, and puts safety and quality at risk,” said Nagpaul.

He also warned that due to decrease in the number of GPs, the patients have to wait for about one or two weeks to get their appointments.

However, a spokesperson at the Department of Health said that the problem is not that severe, “The number of GPs has gone up by 1,000 since 2010 and we’ve taken tough decisions to protect the NHS budget so we can strengthen family doctoring, reform out-of-hospital care and improve GP access for 7.5 million people.”

The Patients Association has asked the GPs and government to work towards improving it and said, “We hear daily from patients that they can’t get appointment. It’s even worse for those who want a named doctor for continuity of care. They are having to wait two or three weeks. It is becoming a real issue.”

YS Subramaniam