The Guardian reported yesterday on the potential for closure of a number of GP practices in London. The statistics quoted are alarming at a time when many people struggle to build any continuity with their GP(s) and appointments are still hard to come by. Please click here to read the full article.
Philippa Luscombe, partner in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches LLP, comments: “As the need for investment in primary care is widely accepted, it is disappointing to see these reports and to learn of a potential reduction in local GP services for Londoners. There is no doubt that ease of access to GPs and continuity of care does, in many cases, enable the early diagnosis and treatment of conditions where timing is key – such as cancer. We are concerned that fewer local doctors and practices will mean that patients simply won’t attend or that, with a lack of continuity, the bigger picture of someone’s condition will not be seen.
“The other significant problem with a reduction in easy access to primary care is that this may result in more people reverting to overstretched A&E departments – which has its own knock on effect in terms of quality of care provided. One of the important things in GP care that enables appropriate assessment and treatment is time – time for a patient to explain their issues and for a GP to review and assess the whole picture. Any proposals which result in less time or access can only create unease.”