Practices in Wales have taken on tasks that are normally provided through hospital services – often without being asked about their willingness to do so, according to a survey of GPs.
These include blood tests and ECGs as well as follow ups and prescriptions, according to the British Medical Association survey. 90% of GPs said this had happened and just one said they had been consulted about work being transferred.
The survey, involving 103 doctors, found that most – 84% – reported increased workloads and all doctors said the extra pressures were harming staff morale. The survey found a positive view of Wales’s new Consultant Connect app, which enables them to get advice from specialists.
BMA Welsh GP committee chair Dr Phil White said that GPs now deal with more patients daily than a year ago – and warned that practice staff were “physically and mentally exhausted.” He said: “Our way of working has been radically changed, probably permanently. Computer systems like AccuRx and Attend Anywhere have become as important to us as a stethoscope.”
He said that remote consultations had proved more time-consuming than in the past – rather than saving time. He added: “Technology alone will not address the backlog of patients that the NHS is seeing. Things cannot go on like this indefinitely.”