Medacs Healthcare

JUL 27/2015

Pressure on GPs 'eased by paramedics and medical assistants'

Other medical professionals, such as paramedics, could ease the workloads of GPs, according to a new report.

The independent Primary Care Workforce Commission's (PCWC's) study revealed that paramedics could become substitutes for family doctors in some situations, while pharmacists and other members of the NHS' workforce could help tackle to current GP shortage.  

Its suggestion that paramedics could be stand-ins for GPs in assessing urging requests for home visits is among the report's more radical proposals - something that it wants to see piloted and evaluated for potential benefits. 

GP Online reports that the commission - established by the Health Education England (HEE) last year - has urged the government to implement ten point plan created by HEE, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), the British Medical Association (BMA) and NHS England. 

The new report, titled 'The Future of Primary Care: Creating Teams for Tomorrow', recommends that pharmacists, physician associates and healthcare assistants are better utilised, while also calling for a workforce plan for primary care nursing.

Furthermore, the document urges the government to make immediate changes to NHS funding apparatus to offer an incentive to adopt integrated care across all sectors within the health service. 

According to the PCWC - which is chaired by professor of health services research at the University of Cambridge Martin Roland - the excessive administrative work GPs have to carry out is a major burden and one of the most common reasons for departure by those that have left the profession. 

It feels the solution to this is to train support staff, including existing admin team and healthcare assistants, so they can take over these duties. 

The commission was set up in October 2014 by order of health secretary Jeremy Hunt in order to find a viable resolution for the GP workforce crisis. He also made a commitment to hiring 5,000 new family doctors by 2020 - a pledge that changed from a minimum to a maximum in recent weeks. 

In response to the PCWC's report, Dr Maureen Baker, chairperson of the RCGP, said: "Professor Roland’s report could prove to be a valuable lifeline to help rescue general practice from years of neglect and under-investment and ensure that we can continue to deliver good and safe care to our patients well into the future."

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