Guest post by Practice Manager Nicola Hayward.
This has got to be the mother of all rants possible… if I say those three little letters C, Q and C, do your hackles automatically rise? Does your blood pressure go up by 100? Does that vein in your neck start to pulsate with rage?!
I’ve read this week about the ‘proposed’ fee increases and their consultation as to whether they claw money from us over a two year or four year period; this is no consultation, this is a fait accompli my friends! There’s no debate about the fees rise, just how long they’re going to take to grab it off us.
Looking at the website, I see as a three site practice, I will have to find the princely sum of just under £12,000 to pay for the privilege of CQC visiting me. Now, that rise is almost 600% on this year’s fee – and for what? According to their blurb, CQC has to change its fees “in order to be regulated”…and is necessary “for regulators to recover their chargeable costs” … err… why?! It goes on to say that their commitment “is to make sure that people receive safe, effective, compassionate and high quality care” and the fees paid “enables this important work to happen”. Does the amount of money we pay to CQC affect the way we care for patients? Of course it flippin’ well doesn’t!
I expect my mechanic to look after my car in a safe and effective way (and I’m hoping he’s high quality!) but if his charges rose by 600% I’d be taking my business elsewhere. Now that £12k could be the equivalent of a receptionist, or a part time dispenser. Some surgeries, in a rather precarious financial position, might have to consider what’s happening in the future – will they have to close a branch site? Will they have to let someone go? And if we do that, well doesn’t that impact on “safe, effective, compassionate and high quality care”? Of course it bloomin’ well does! How can you provide a service that meets the needs of ALL of your patients, if you’ve had to close half of your practice to enable you to pay a reduced fee?!
It’s not just fees for surgeries with branch sites that have gone up 600%, it’s everyone’s. Do the chaps at the top not read the newspapers? Are they not aware that primary care is in crisis? Is this part of a secret ploy by Jeremy Hunt to privatise the NHS by stealth? He’ll be OK – I’m sure there’s a private health plan for MPs to access – heaven forfend that they should find themselves in a mixed ward post-appendicectomy!
So, what’s the answer peeps? Well, seriously, I’m getting my head around a petition for us PMs to sign to say back off our NHS, stick your charges up the final section of your gastrointestinal tract and do one – BUT, we ALL need to be of one mind. If every practice in the country said NO, we ain’t paying, well, they couldn’t close us all down now could they?! BUT we all need to be behind this – and we all need to grow a set, use our spine and once and for all, tell his Royal Dipstick that we cannot go on like this.
Personally, if this carries on, I give the NHS five years – GPs will try and do their best for their patients but they are being hit at every angle, and it’s up to us to try and keep them afloat. But as more and more junior doctors decide not to go into primary care, we’re left with the golden oldies who are looking to retire, so won’t fight anyway, and the bunch in the middle who may decide to locum or look elsewhere for work – who needs the added stress?
So, chaps – what d’ya think?
Are you with me?
UPDATE on 19/11/2015: You can now sign the petition by clicking here.
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