Is the vaccine ‘shambles’ due to GP’s union campaign to reduce workload?

You can expect the delays being experienced by an unidentified number of callers to Age Scotland to drive today’s anti-SNP media campaign.

Based on browsing the reports over the last few days, there is the possibility that the same woman from Fife nurtured by Scottish Labour is at the heart of this but, hey, I can’t be sure of that.

Anyhow, you can be sure that the groups representing GPs such as the BMA, will not find themselves examined yet they seem to have had a big part to play in the changes now making it less straightforward for the elderly to get vaccine appointments.

In November 2017, we heard:

‘A new GP contract, jointly designed and agreed with the British Medical Association, will be the biggest reform of GPs services in over a decade. The proposals will ensure that all patients get the support they need from an extended community healthcare team – led by GPs and including nurses, physiotherapists, community mental health workers, paramedics, and pharmacists – to ensure more patients get the best and most appropriate care.’

Driving all of this was a BMA campaign to counter alleged over-work and under-staffing.

At the time, I responded:

I’m all for this. Having been a patient more often in recent times, I can see what they have to put up with. However, it’s important, I think, to remember that general practice in Scotland has been better staffed than in rUK for some time and that Scottish GPs seem to consider themselves less stressed and less overworked too.

First, Scotland has significantly more GPs per head of population:

Scotland –1 GP to 1083 people.

England – 1 GP to 1338 people.

Wales – 1 GP to 1375 people.

Northern Ireland – 1 GP to 1445 people

Second, Scottish GPs are the most satisfied with practising medicine:

Scotland – 80%

England – 65%

Wales – 67%

Northern Ireland – 71%

Third, fewer Scottish GPs work excessive hours than those in the rest of the UK (percentages):

                  England          Scotland         Wales              N Ireland

1-34                 22                    15                    20                    20

35-44               29                    34                    33                    34

44-54               28                    39                    32                    28

50 or over       21                    12                    15                    19

Fourth, Scottish doctors are the least stressed in the UK (percentages)

                 England          Scotland         Wales              N Ireland

Extremely       19                    7                      18                    15

Very                 43                    25                    37                    27

Somewhat       34                    57                    36                    47

Not too            3                      11                    8                      10

Not at all         1                      0                      1                      0

All of the above come from a rigorous academic study carried out by professional researchers, not interested parties like the BBC, BMA or RCGP, at the Commonwealth Institute (USA):

Anyhow, in November 2017 they got a new better contract and the BMA praised it:

The BMA has told the GP’s newsletter, Pulse (‘At the heart of general practice since 1960’), that the new Scottish contract is an ‘ambitious departure’ from the rest of the UK and that it will make the profession attractive again. See this from a Pulse report:

‘The 70-page document marks the most radical redrawing of general practice anywhere in the UK since 2004, with GP partners promised a guaranteed minimum income of at least £80k; direct reimbursement of expenses, longer consultations with more complex patients and the transfer of workload to the NHS with no loss of funding. But it is perhaps the whole theme of the document that is refreshing. The reassertion of the GP role as the ‘expert medical generalist’; the citation of Barbara Starfield’s ‘four Cs’ (contact, comprehensiveness, continuity and coordination) as ‘guiding principles’ and the whole emphasis on reducing workload and risk. It all makes the GP Forward View in England look rather cold and mechanistic, rather like a Haynes manual put next to a glossy brochure for a new car.’

Also speaking to Pulse, the Scottish GP Committee chair Dr Alan McDevitt said ‘he was confident that the proposals would offer stability and make the profession attractive to young doctors.’

In January 2018, they voted for it:

‘To inform the Scottish GP Committee’s decision on whether to implement the proposed new GMS contract in Scotland, a poll of the profession was held to establish whether the contract had the backing of GPs in Scotland. The poll was held between 7 December and 4 January and was open to all GPs working in Scotland, including trainees and locums. The poll asked the question: ‘Do you wish to see the proposed new Scottish GMS contract implemented?’

The overall results were:

Yes       71.5%

No        28.5%

Spoilt   5%

I couldn’t help laughing at the idea of GPs spoiling votes. Did they draw willies on the form but more anatomically correct ones?

So, is the current transfer of vaccine delivery just another consequence of developments pushed for by the the BMA in the interests of their members?

8 thoughts on “Is the vaccine ‘shambles’ due to GP’s union campaign to reduce workload?

  1. Hi re this and a previous post about delays and being unable to contact the NHS. I had a flue jag appointment this Saturday – but got a letter telling me that it was cancelled due to overbooking – another appointment would follow – but I could phone the number on the letter.
    One call – answered promptly – answering machine gave me another number – phoned answered promptly and was given an appointment this Friday. Excellent service.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Flu vaccinations, or lack thereof, is the Herald’s front page story today thus continuing its long series of NHS stories on the front page.

    Buried somewhere in the story is mention of the new GP contract and the reduction in their workload which has impacted flu vaccinations.

    There seems to have been a patchy response to the transfer of responsibility for flu vaccinations to Health Boards. Some GP surgeries have continued to provide them as usual whereas others have passed responsibility to the Health Board. My local medical practice is going with the local health board yet they had a well-oiled, efficient system for administering the flu vaccine which, with minor adjustments, could have been made Covid compliant.

    Not the year when you want confused and confusing changes brought in.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’d think that
    an extended community healthcare team – led by GPs and including nurses, physiotherapists, community mental health workers, paramedics, and pharmacists – to ensure more patients get the best and most appropriate care.’ . . . . Just not flu Vaccines

    Should be playing their part in the Flu vaccine programme accross Scotland during this pandemic.

    My local GP’s hide behind a closed front door, reinforced by a nurse run triage system.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same at our surgery. I do wonder about GP’s and what their job description is right now, are they seeing any patients, is it all by telephone? How accurate is that? Is anyone keeping an audit and overseeing their day to day, (usually 3-4 days at the practice) effectiveness in diagnosing or referring people on?
      Re the flu vaccine, far as I know we can request it via the pharmacy, or, they have drive in if you have a vehicle. Certainly no contact with any GP the doors to the surgery are firmly shut. Who employs and pays the GP’s? Genuine question.


  4. Got a flu jag this afternoon in Edinburgh. Had to go to the Heart of Midlothian Football ground instead of my GP along the road but not a big problem. No waiting, all done efficiently and no sign of a shortage of vaccine.

    Liked by 1 person

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