The next few days will see a suspension of the usual hot topics of my blogging life, such as cake, and Oscar’s nude trombone practice, as I concentrate my efforts on helping my local GP service to stay open.
Long term readers may want to queue at the exits and come back when this is all over.
Yesterday, I blogged about the fact that my GP, Dr. Lenten, has been placed in an untenable position by the CCG, the governing body who oversee GPs and their practice, and as a result of their failure to help him, he has handed in his resignation.
He will close the surgery on 31st March, and we will lose the best rated GP in the city.
His is the third surgery to close in our area in recent months, and there are others scheduled to close as the CCG make its way steadily towards the adoption of the super surgery model, currently already being used in Birmingham, Northampton and Melton Mowbray.
When interviewed about whether super surgeries were in our future on BBC Radio Leicester this morning, the Chairman of the CCG, Professor Azhar Farooqi, hedged his bets with a rather noncommittal answer.
I suspect it is all rather political, and fragile.
While politicians and those who worry about their career steer politely around answering direct questions and explain to you how taking away the things you need and value is helping you, I want to focus on the human aspect of what is happening.
In January this year, the Leicester Mercury, our local newspaper, filed a story saying that the Leicester Royal Infirmary A&E department is under intolerable pressure and has been since at least October last year.
Since November of last year, the A&E department has had to declare ‘a major internal incident’ seven times. I am informed it happened again last week.
What does this mean?
What it means is that the A&E department is so over stretched that it can no longer admit patients, including patients who are critically ill and come in by ambulance. The latest incident involved all ambulances stuck in bays with ill patients on board, waiting to be taken into the A&E department, but the department unable to take them in. This meant that no ambulances were then available to attend new incoming calls to the emergency services.
This went on for SIX hours.
You might wonder what this has to do with my GP.
The recommendations of bodies like the CCG and other health care professionals are that to relieve pressure on overstretched A&E departments, patients must only go to A&E in an absolute dire emergency. At all other times, and at times of doubt, they should opt to see their GP.
Professor Farooqi today admitted that there was already, in the city, due largely to retirement and emigration, an exodus of GPs leaving their practices and that the strain on the current GPs was difficult for them to manage.
Add to that the added strain of having A&E patients re-routed to their services.
Add to that, the continued closure of GP surgeries, including ones like Dr. Lenten’s surgery, where the GP doesn’t actually want to close.
Then add to that, the number of messages coming into the Save Queen’s Road Medical Practice Facebook page today, from patients who have already tried to register at other surgeries, surgeries the letter from the CCG assures them have availability and are willing to take them, and yet those surgeries deny that when they are actually approached to take on new patients.
Then think about the number of people who will not be getting the care they need, and who are being let down by a system that pays its administrators healthy bonuses while kicking its front line practitioners to the curb, and failing to do their duty by their patients.
That is the human cost of this political hot potato, and it’s one we’re all paying.