A Barrow GP says he is against suggestions made by one in three UK doctors that time-wasters should be charged up to £10 for visiting A&E
The June 21 strike will include a suspension of routine medical visits and check-ups, but emergency treatments and tests for serious diseases, such as cancer, will continue. A vast majority of GPs, hospital consultants and junior doctors voted in favor of the suspension of non-urgent care. The strike is in response to changes in pension and pay standards that are expected to go into effect in 2015 in England and Wales. The changes include the age of retirement, which would move up from 65 to 68, as well as raising the amount medical professionals pay into the pension system. Some doctors are very critical of the move to strike. BBC picked up the story of an BMA member, Dr. Dan Poulter, who decided to quit the organization after the decision to strike. The BBC quoted Poulter as saying: This is going to damage the reputation of the medical profession and its going to hurt patients. In 2009-10, the average GP was earning 106,000 and, under the new scheme the government set up, the average doctor, on retirement, will receive a pension of 68,000 a year. We need to be able to afford the pensions and afford to look after people in terms of funding the NHS and its important that doctors pay their fair share along with everyone else. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has also stated that the public will not sympathize with the doctors strike. NHS officials argue that the doctors are dragging patients into the middle of a debate and endangering effective and efficient care. Furthermore, many officials claim that the pension system for doctors in the UK is one of the best in the world, retaining the same comprehensive pension for new doctors starting their work this year.
Some 39 per cent of them also said putting an extended-hours GP surgery next to hospitals would massively cut admissions. Lead commissioning GP for Furness, Dr Geoff Jolliffe, said it was simply a knee-jerk reaction. The majority of general practitioners also questioned whether government changes to GP contracts would alleviate A&E issues, with 74 per cent disagreeing that giving the elderly a named GP would help. Dr Tim Ringrose, chief executive of Doctors.net.uk, said: It is not surprising many GPs believe people who abuse the system should be hit in the pocket. It may be a clear departure from the traditional NHS vision, but many doctors are now saying that radical action has to be taken to reverse the free at the point of abuse culture that is a key contributor to the current emergency care crisis in some areas. Those GPs in favour of bringing in A&E fees said charging patients 5 to 10 for each visit would reduce admissions at the drop of a hat. Such charges would then be refunded if the visit was deemed necessary. Dr Jolliffe said: I just don’t think this is going to happen. There is immense pressure in the system around urgent care, not just A&E, but also ambulance services and general practice. This suggestion, like the recent suggestion to charge for consultations on general practice, is a knee jerk-reaction in an attempt to solve this problem. We believe in Furness that what we need to do is understand why this pressure has built up and work with the public to develop ways of relieving the pressure. There is no doubt we need to work differently and also the public need to use the services differently and most importantly, we need some sensible support for this nationally. The Department of Health said there were no plans to introduce fees because such a move goes against the founding principles of the NHS.
Scientists and doctors unite to defeat tick bite disease
Some cases can be relatively mild, with the patient suffering a flu-like illness which can be treated with a short course of antibiotics. However, it can also be much more serious. The disease can be passed by a pregnant woman to her unborn child and by a breastfeeding mother to her baby. Last year, it was linked to the death of 43-year-old Scott Beattie, a gamekeeper, from Glenglass, near Evanton, Ross-shire, who had been diagnosed months earlier with the condition. The disease can be difficult to diagnose. A blood test can be inconclusive and symptoms can vary from patient to patient and mimic those of other illnesses such as multiple sclerosis and chronic fatigue syndrome. Only some patients develop a characteristic “bullseye” rash on the site of the bite. The setting up of the multi-disciplinary team to develop the clinical guidance is a major triumph for patient support groups. Stella Huyshe-Shires, chairwoman of Lyme Disease Action, said: “The establishment of a multi-disciplinary group, to include patient representatives, for the development of UK guidance is a big step forward. “Lyme Disease Action has been calling for this for many years and has laid the foundations through a project which has documented the uncertainties in diagnosis and treatment.” GPs in Scotland have also welcomed the development. Dr John Gillies, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners in Scotland, said: “I think the important thing is raising awareness of Lyme disease. My feeling is that in rural areas of Scotland there is a quite a high level of awareness among GPs.