Private Business Intermediaries

GP’s warn patients against dangerous hospitals

28/03/2013 | By Sharmila Chauhan

Patients should stay away from dangerous hospitals warn GPs as a response to the dropping NHS standards in hospitals.

In a new manifesto, Breaking Boundaries, NHS Alliance  (an organisation representation primary care healthcare: GPs, pharmacists and nurses) says it wants to see a paradigm shift in the management of health, wellbeing and all non-urgent care.

“Hospitals can be dangerous places. If we are to put people before numbers and achieve high quality of care, while also achieving the efficiencies required to sustain a long term NHS free at the point of need, there is an immediate imperative to shift all non-urgent care from the hospital to the community.” Said Michael Dixon, chairman, NHS Alliance at the Healthcare Innovation Expo.

In a letter to The Times, president Dr Chris Drinkwater and chairman Dr Michael Dixon, said that “If we are to put people before numbers and achieve high quality of care, as well as keeping an NHS free at the point of need for future generations we must, as an immediate imperative,  shift all non-urgent care from hospital into the community,”

This means a complete shift from the current system of treating most people in the hospital, to treating more people in the community or community based healthcare systems.

NHS Alliance submitted the manifesto to the new body responsible for the health service -  NHS Commissioning Board earlier this month.

Breaking Boundaries calls on the Department of Health and the NHS Commissioning Board, responsible for commissioning all services within primary care including general practice, community pharmacy, dentistry and eye care to demonstrate its commitment to primary care, by:
  • Offering each patient the opportunity to create a personal health and wellbeing plan;
  • Agreeing that consultants contracts in certain specialities should be held by the NHS Commissioning Board or local Clinical Commissioning Groups, enabling these valuable specialists to take a community-wide responsibility for groups of patients and to become an expert resource for primary care clinicians;
  • Appointing a GP or other primary care professional to work at the same level as the Chief Medical Officer or Commissioning Board Medical Director;
  • Undertaking a review of the current financial systems in which general practice is paid per head of population but hospitals are paid for activity;
  • Allowing data to be shared across boundaries in different services and settings, making sure that patients are involved and feel safe and secure;
  • Advocating that primary care should take a new role in orchestrating community movement that improve health and wellbeing.

Dr Dixon, who himself is a GP in Devon, said: “We need to work towards the point when acute hospital admissions should be regarded as a failure rather than a default position. “Hospitals can be dangerous, particularly for older patients and those with long-term conditions. There is a risk of infection and nutrition is complicated for those who cannot feed themselves. We should aim to keep them out of hospital for as long as possible.”

Alliance is keen to see Primary Care take a leading role: “Primary care holds the keys to improving patient health. Over the past few years there has been an enormous shift [of resources] from primary to secondary care. Now people are fighting their own bit of their health corner. Thirty years ago there were three times as many GPs as consultants. Now there are more consultants than GPs. Other countries have realised the value of care in the community and have overtaken us. The same old vested and reactionary elements seem to paralyse our system and stop it moving in the direction that everyone is agreed it ought to go.”

GPs are also demanding that GP should be appointed to advocate and champion new primary care systems, and partner with the Chief Medical Officer. They are also asking that hospital consultants’ contracts are held centrally by the Commissioning Board, instead of hospital trusts. This would hope to encourage them to take community wide outlook.