GP waiting times add further stresses at work, but there is a solution
For the first time since the late 1960s, research by the Nuffield Trust think tank for the BBC shows that there’s been a sustained fall in the number of GPs in the NHS. The analysis found that the number of GPs per 100,000 people had gone from nearly 65 in 2014 to 60 last year. 50 million people in England are cared for by the NHS and at least 90% have their first NHS contact with a GP.
This research comes at a time where GP waiting times are already at an all-time high. A report just last year* found that around one in five patients had to wait a week or more before they could see or speak to someone at their GP surgery. On top of this, The British Medical Association say that we should expect current waiting times to “rocket”. The Royal College of General Practitioners now estimate that by 2022 there will be over 100 million incidents of a patient waiting a week or more to see a GP or practice nurse. There have been reports of waits of up to seven weeks for a routine appointment, while those needing urgent appointments have been forced to queue outside practices in the early morning to guarantee to be seen.
What does this mean for employees?
The impact on the UK workforce of these new findings has yet to be measured, but the added pressure of any employee with a medical concern not having immediate access to clinical practitioners must play a part in the ever-increasing stress levels of the working population, leading to increased presenteeism and reduced levels of productivity.
How can you provide support to your employees?
As a result of these rising concerns, peoplevalue have just launched a GP Helpline to complement their range of online health and wellbeing services collectively called ‘the zone’. The new service provides employees with access to a qualified GP via a telephone helpline available 24/7, 365 days a year, and accessible from anywhere in the world. GPs can provide advice, reassurance or guidance on a wealth of medical matters, at a time to suit the employee. In addition to the GP helpline, an eConsultation service is also available. Employees can book virtual face to-face appointments with a GP in the comfort of their own home. Should the doctor feel that an individual would benefit from prescription medication, they can arrange a private electronic prescription that is authorised by a doctor. An online pharmacy then contacts the employee to arrange a delivery of the medication and take payment.
The amazing part is that peoplevalue are able to offer this to UK businesses from as little as 50p per month per employee.
Andy Caldicott, peoplevalue’s Managing Director commented: “Being able to offer this service will provide peace of mind to employees who have a medical concern but can’t get to see a GP for a week or sometime longer”. He continued, “Working with our partner, BHSF, we believe we now have a solution that addresses this issue which, if reports are to be believed, will only get worse. Combined with a very low unit cost, the return on investment will be substantial and offers a very valuable benefit to the UK workforce.”
To find out more about our GP Helpline, please call our sales team on 01865 876696 or email [email protected].
Read the full BBC News story here.
* Feb 2018 Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford.