We have been told that the optimum number of patients who are supposed to be assigned to a GP, for him or her to be able to treat the patient effectively, is 1800 people.
Our GP, the one we are losing, treated and continues to treat for a few more weeks, 2,418 of us.
He is already operating at over capacity.
When we went to see our CCG to ask why they did not help him to make his practice viable by helping him find a new GP, so that he could take on more patients, we were told that it does not work this way.
The way it works, I was told, is that in these situations a GP should continue to keep his patient list open and takes as many patients as he can until he can no longer cope, at which point he then makes the case for a new GP to be appointed.
If we take 1800 as the optimum number for good quality care, this suggests that it is possible for a single GP takes on 3600 patients, which is the equivalent of two GPs worth of patients, before they ask for another GP.
We know that Dr. Lenten was treating 2,418 of us, which argues that he could have been expected to actually take on nearly 5000 of us before anyone might suggest he needed another GP.
We think this is a terrible model of patient care. It puts money at the forefront of every care decision to be made, and pretty much guarantees longer wait times for patients, less appointments and poorer care all round because Drs are being forced to overstretch themselves, and the good ones will over work. No wonder so many of them are stressed, and ill and leave.
We were also told by a different party, that less scrupulous GPs will simply load their patient list for the money. They take advantage of the money that travels with every patient (£71), but make no attempt to get more GPs to ease the strain on the practice. They basically get that money for free without necessarily seeing any more patients than they would normally see, because there are only a finite amount of appointments per week and once they’re gone, they’re gone.
What sort of a system is it that reduces everything to sums to the detriment of care for both the patients who need to be seen, and the doctors who need to see them?