Tuesday, 2 March 2010

GPs as an emergency service? No longer according to BT.

While trawling the net looking for something else we stumbled across this interesting link. A little more research and we found this. Click the link on the NHS Connecting for Health website and read the letter to PCT Chief Executives and a few others but not amazingly to GPs.

When we started in General Practice we signed up to a “priority” repair service from BT.

Over the years only the 999 (ambulance, fire and police) services in the UK are classed as true emergency cases by BT where loss of telecommunications has to be fixed immediately. GPs are merely “priority” which we think means you will get fixed a bit quicker than Joe Public would but from experience about the same.

Given the poor state of the out of hours service locally, which has led to many of us being rung outside of the core hours (08.00 – 18.30hrs) by the PCT provided out of hours service, to be asked by the private companies who are the current out of hours service providers:

We have no doctors can you just deal with this problem. . ?

it is clear that those life threatening emergency calls in general practice will just not get answered if there is a problem with our remote Northernshire cross country phone lines.

Surely though with the “world class commissioned” out of hours service there will be a responsible manager available 24 hours a day 365 days a year to deal with such a crisis? Seems no-one thought about this in the commissioning process as the private sector costing 3 times more than the old one is much better able to cope. They just ring the patient's own GP at no cost to them or the PCT commissioners.

Praise be to the Party. If the out of hours service can’t help you and they have rung your own GP whose phone is not working who you’re going to call?

Bet it won’t Ghostbusters but the ambulance service (their phones should be working as they are an emergency service) or A&E departments will have to deal with your “really” sore throat you have had for the last half hour. You will have no other “Choice” will you?


GrumpyRN said...

Come to my A&E department with a sore throat and unless you have stridor you are going to get your ass kicked out the door and told to visit your GP.

Northern Doc said...

We think we may be on the same team with that one Grumps. They would get told to get out it is a virus and will get better on its own. Thanks for reading.