Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

Questions over efficiency of NHS referral management centres

NHS bodies are paying millions of pounds to private firms that stop patients being referred to hospital by their GP, an investigation has found.

NHS bodies are paying millions of pounds to private firms that stop patients being referred to hospital by their GP, an investigation has found. Controversial referral management centres are used by some clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to scrutinise patient referrals to hospitals by family doctors.

 Supporters say they can cut down on inappropriate referrals, saving the NHS money, but critics argue that adding an extra layer of scrutiny can risk delaying diagnosis for the patient. There is also a question mark over how effective such schemes are.

In a new investigation, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) sent freedom of information requests to all 211 CCGs in England. Of 184 that responded, 72 (39%) said they currently commissioned some form of referral management scheme to help manage outpatient demand at their local hospitals.

Almost a third (32%) of the schemes are provided by private companies, while a further 29% are provided in house and 11% by local NHS trusts. Some 69% of CCGs with schemes gave details of operating costs. These CCGs combined have spent at least £57m on schemes since April 2013.

Most CCGs were unable to provide evidence showing the scheme saved money. Only 14% could show that the scheme had saved more cash than it had cost to operate, while 12% showed that their schemes had not saved money overall.

Meanwhile, 74% of CCGs (53 groups) failed to supply figures to show whether any money had been saved, the BMJ reported.

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Filed under: GP's, NHS, Uncategorized, ,

Exclusive: GP practices serving more than 5m patients could close in the next year

More than 5m patients in England could be forced to look for a new GP over the next year as surgery closures hit record levels, a poll suggests.

One in 10 GPs believe their practice is at risk of closure in the next 12 months because of underfunding, workload or recruitment problems, according to a GPonline opinion poll of 298 GPs.

Many more GPs are aware of struggling practices in their local area – 41% of respondents said they knew a neighbouring practice that was at risk of closure in the next year. GP leaders warned that NHS England must do more to deliver rapid bailout funding to prevent the collapse of practices across the country.

The closure of one in 10 of the 7,500-plus GP practices in England – which have an average list size of around 7,000 – could leave 5.25m patients looking for a new family doctor.

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Are you caring for a loved one or know someone that is? Is it going well? Are you worried?

Are you caring for a loved one? Is it going well? Would it be really useful to have a tool that you could keep notes instantly, keep an eye on what the doctors are saying and be able to go back on your notes?

Yes! well please look at MyNotes Medical which is to safeguard our loved ones.
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This little app will prevent so much suffering, anguish and heartache on the part of patients, their carers and families. It will also unquestionable save many, many lives

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It is imperative that we get the funding we need to launch this project. Your help is desperately needed, however small. Please go to our website

Please help us to help you and your loved ones and Together we can make a difference



Filed under: GP's, Hospital, NHS, , , , ,

A Doctor’s Manifesto for the NHS – An Open Letter by Dr Zoe Norris GP – Posted in The Huffington Post

Dear Mr Hunt, Mr Burnham, Mr Lamb, Ms Bours, Dr Creasy, Ms Robison, and Ms Jones,

I have watched with interest over the last few days as your policies and promises regarding the NHS have been publicised. On reflection, I think perhaps you need a few pointers. I am a doctor; I am a GP working in the service that sees 90% of patients the NHS deals with every day. I hope you won’t take offence at this letter, but your health policies, well, they are dreadful. I’m sure there are teachers up and down the country who feel your education policies are the same. Service personnel who feel similarly about your defence policies and so on. All I know is I am doing the job you are all purporting to improve, save, fund – whatever. And you are all wrong. My disclaimer is this – I am genuinely an undecided voter. Largely because I can’t believe a word of what most of you say about the NHS, but if a party did admit that the NHS is a bottomless pit of money, and that they would truly engage with doctors, nurses, and the many other NHS staff to try and improve it and its use, instead of constantly encouraging the privatisation and consumerism of our most basic public service, you would have my vote in a heartbeat.

Allow me to briefly critique your current manifestos. I haven’t separated them by party because let’s be honest, they’re much the same.

Click on the link below to read more


Dr Zoe Norris

Filed under: GP's, NHS, , , ,

Survival guide all NHS patients must read: A leading doctor’s insider tips on getting the treatment you need – By Dr Phil Hammond For The Daily Mail

When I first walked on to an NHS ward, in 1984, patients were often discouraged from taking an active part in their own care. Some weren’t even told if they had a serious diagnosis, such as cancer or dementia. We assumed that you weren’t able to contribute, didn’t want to know, or that telling you might make you more anxious and unable to cope. And doctors didn’t waste emotion or energy on those difficult conversations about death and disability. But not knowing your diagnosis meant you couldn’t possibly participate in crucial decisions about your care, involve your loved ones or plan properly for the future. So patients had to fend for themselves.

Thankfully, times have changed. Evidence now suggests that the more involved you are – and are allowed to be – as a patient, the more likely you are to get the right care for you. Humans often take the path of least resistance and, when you’re ill, it’s usually easiest to lie back and let the professionals get on with it. But if you have a long-term illness, there comes a time when you need to get more involved and speak up, so your care can be built around your needs and priorities.

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Carrying a printed copy of your medical records with all the key information can make a huge difference

Filed under: GP's, Hospital, NHS, , , , ,

New £10m plan to lure GPs out of retirement

GPs will be encouraged to delay or come back from retirement, under a new £10m scheme attempting to boost the numbers of family doctors. NHS officials said doctors will be offered more flexible ways of working to encourage them back into general practice. In the last three years, the number of unfilled GP posts has quadrupled, to almost 8 per cent. Doctors have raised fears that more than 500 practices could be forced to close soon because almost all of their doctors are over the age of 60, when the average GP retires at 59. The looming crisis could leave more than 1 million patients in the lurch, medics have claimed. NHS England will today announce new schemes, to encourage those considering retirement, and those who have already left general practice, to think again, and look at options to work on a part-time basis.

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GPs will be encouraged to delay retirement Photo: Alamy 

Filed under: GP's, Uncategorized, , ,

Dr Scrooge meets the GP ghosts of past, present and future

In a twist on the Charles Dickens classic, one GP looks at how general practice has changed over the years and what it faces in the future

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A Christmas carol

What lies in store for general practice and the NHS? Photograph: John Bramley

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The NHS Frontline – The Reality of Mental Health Services

Please read this very well written article by Dr Zoe Norris who is a GP in the NHS, and her frustration in trying to get help for one of her patients

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Watchdog ranks GP surgeries by risk – Check to see how your GP practice is performing

CLICK ON THE LINK AND ENTER YOUR POSTCODE To find out how your GP practice is performing.

Health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has ranked almost every GP surgery in England in terms of risk of providing poor care.  The majority are of low concern, but 11% have been rated in the highest risk band by CQC. Many of the elevated-risk practices had possible issues with appointments, mental health plans, and cervical cancer screening. The CQC register will help target inspections. The watchdog said the register did not necessarily indicate poor GP surgery performance. “It is important to remember that the data is not a judgement, as it is only when we inspect we can determine if a practice provides safe, high-quality and compassionate care,” said CQC chief inspector of general practice Prof Steve Field. “The data is a further tool that will help us to decide where to inspect and when,” he said.  The health watchdog ranked 7,276 practices out of the total 7,661 in England, and placed 864 practices in the “highest concern” category. In about 3% of high-concern practices, patients stated they had difficulties in getting an appointment to see a GP or nurse.

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My daughter diagnosed her own brain tumour after being turned away by numerous doctors – Daniel Sencier

A hard hitting but great comment to my blog on Monday 10th November, from my lovely daughter Lucienne, who eventually ‘self diagnosed’ her own brain tumour, after doctors and specialists that she went to for help, repeatedly turned her away… Daniel Sencier

My Comment: Spoken from the heart from one who thank goodness had the good sense to say “This is my life” And not put all her trust in the hands that are supposed to help her… Joanna


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Anger over ‘cash for diagnoses’ dementia plan

Family doctors will be paid £55 for every patient they diagnose with dementia under a new NHS England scheme which has been condemned as an “ethical travesty”. Leading GPs said the national project amounted to “cash for diagnoses” – allowing doctors to make a direct profit if they classify patients as suffering from dementia. In some parts of the country, NHS authorities have gone still further – offering family doctors £200 for each new diagnosis made, The Telegraph can reveal.

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NHS funding crisis set to hit cancer patients

Cancer patients will have to wait months to be diagnosed after visiting their GP as the NHS here faces a financial meltdown, it was warned yesterday. People at risk of stroke and those with debilitating and life-limiting conditions will also be caught up in the growing crisis. Health chiefs also said the NHS needs a £21million injection or the number of people waiting at least 15 weeks for a first hospital appointment will rise by 20,000. A leading GP claimed the predicted rise in waiting times will be disastrous for sufferers.

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Up to 200 ‘dangerous’ GP surgeries face closure under inspection regime

Up to 200 GP surgeries face closure or being placed in special measures for providing potentially dangerous care to thousands of patients, the chief inspector of family doctors has warned. Professor Steve Field has said that a handful of surgeries would be shut down after being found guilty of “serious failings”, while others would be given a year to improve or be closed.

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35,000 patients wrongly struck off GP registers

Up to 35,000 patients have been wrongly struck off GP registers in the last year in NHS cost-cutting exercises targeting the elderly and vulnerable, an investigation has found.
Doctors said patients are increasingly being denied vital check-ups, cancer screening and suffering delays obtaining medication because of botched attempts by authorities to update records and reduce practice funding.
In some parts of the country more than one third of patients who were stripped from the lists should never have been deleted, official figures show.
GPs said blunders by schemes which have targeted the elderly and children who failed to attend vaccination appointments had led to angry scenes in GP surgeries when patients found out what had happened.

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How GPs leave us feeling confused: Third admit feeling anxious after an appointment because they do not understand what their doctor has told them

One in three Brits admit leaving appointments with their GP completely baffled by medical jargon, according to research.
A shocking 31 per cent feel confused, anxious and uneasy after failing to understand what their doctor has told them.
One in ten 18 to 24 year olds (ten per cent) even think a harmless ‘benign’ condition is terminal – causing them to leave the doctor’s in unnecessary fear.
The study shows many others are also misunderstanding their diagnosis.
One in nine Brits (11 per cent) believe a CT scan is a ‘computerised torso scan’, while eight per cent are convinced a haemorrhage is just another word for piles.

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Filed under: GP's, Uncategorized, ,

Leprosy still exists in UK despite beliefs it was wiped out decades ago – but doctors are missing it because they think it’s eczema

Leprosy is still present in Britain but doctors missing are its symptoms due to beliefs it was wiped out more than half a century ago.
Around 130 cases of the disease – whose sufferers were treated as social outcasts in Medieval times – were reported in England and Wales between 2001 and 2010.
GPs are misdiagnosing the contagious infection, believing patients have a more common skin problem such as eczema, experts have warned.

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Avoid this GP like the plague: Patients’ warning on doctor who ‘closes surgery for 5 hours a day and takes calls on mobile during appointments and discusses medical secrets with receptionists

Patients described Dr Bijan Saha, 73, from Sittingbourne, Kent, as ‘terrible’
Complaints GP discussed medical conditions in front of reception staff
Care Quality Commission inspection finds surgery has serious failings
Report reveals medicines ‘not handled appropriately or stored correctly’

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