Cheshire GP blames NHS pressure on country's 'Amazon Prime mentality'


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Dr Jonathan Griffiths, a GP in Winsford, Cheshire, blamed Britons' 'Amazon Prime mentality' for a surge in demand for NHS care

Dr Jonathan Griffiths, a GP in Winsford, Cheshire, blamed Britons’ ‘Amazon Prime mentality’ for a surge in demand for NHS care

A prominent GP today blamed Britons’ ‘Amazon Prime mentality’ for a surge in demand for emergency NHS care.

Dr Jonathan Griffiths said an increasing number of patients were turning up at A&E with non-urgent symptoms that could be managed by a GP.

He likened the situation to Amazon’s same-day delivery service, adding that people had ‘high expectations’ and an ‘inability to wait for anything’.

But patients have reported struggling to get a timely face-to-face appointment with their doctor during the pandemic, even as surgeries bounce back from lockdown.  

Dr Griffiths, a GP in Winsford, Cheshire, made the comments in a blog post about the current pressures on the NHS, and emergency departments in particular.

He wrote: ‘We talked about the “Amazon Prime” mentality that we all now have – high expectations and inability to wait for anything.

‘There are significant numbers of people aged 30-50 presenting to the ED with undifferentiated symptoms that are possibly better managed by GPs. 

‘These individuals do not want to wait for GP assessment and want everything investigated and sorted in one trip. 

He added: ‘By and large, they have nothing wrong with them and should never have been there in the first place.’ 

It comes amid a furious row over a lack of in-person GP appointments, with family doctors threatening industrial action over the Government’s plan to name and shame the worst performers.

In his most recent blog entry on Sunday, titled ‘The Emergency Department’, Dr Griffiths reflected on a chat with an ED consultant.

The number of GP appointments taking place face-to-face tumbled at the start of the pandemic when surgeries were told to see patients remotely where possible. But despite the country largely returning to normal, in-person visits are yet to climb back to pre-pandemic levels. The above graph shows the number of face-to-face GP appointments (red line) by month since the end of 2019

The number of GP appointments taking place face-to-face tumbled at the start of the pandemic when surgeries were told to see patients remotely where possible. But despite the country largely returning to normal, in-person visits are yet to climb back to pre-pandemic levels. The above graph shows the number of face-to-face GP appointments (red line) by month since the end of 2019

A total of 52 per cent of consultations in July were with an actual doctor, with the rest carried out by other healthcare staff, such as nurses, pharmacy assistants, and even acupuncturists

A total of 52 per cent of consultations in July were with an actual doctor, with the rest carried out by other healthcare staff, such as nurses, pharmacy assistants, and even acupuncturists

Dr Griffiths, a GP at Swanlow Surgery (pictured) in Winsford, Cheshire, made the comments in a blog post about the current pressures on the NHS, and emergency departments in particular

Dr Griffiths, a GP at Swanlow Surgery (pictured) in Winsford, Cheshire, made the comments in a blog post about the current pressures on the NHS, and emergency departments in particular

He wrote: ‘In our conversation we were both concerned that people seem to be less able to self-manage minor illness and seem to be presenting at earlier stages.

‘This is certainly true in General Practice where we are seeing patients seeking help after a few hours of a sore throat or cough.

‘It seems a proportion of these patients are also heading to the ED.’

Charities have previously warned that cancers, diabetes and other diseases have been made worse during the pandemic because so few people came forward for care in lockdowns.

Dr Griffiths, who had a five-minute Zoom chat with Prince William earlier this year about Covid vaccines, acknowledged this in his most recent post.

Sajid Javid hints 100,000 unvaccinated NHS staff could be FIRED 

Unvaccinated NHS staff are set to be told to get their Covid jabs or lose their jobs under plans being considered by the Government. 

Some 100,000 healthcare workers — or seven per cent — are still yet to show up for their first dose in England.

But Health Secretary Sajid Javid said bringing in compulsory jabs was the ‘clear direction of travel’ despite fears staff could quit the health service at a critical time.

When asked if the plans could come in this winter, Mr Javid told Sky News: ‘I’m leaning towards doing it.’

He said those who had failed to get the jab were putting seriously ill patients in harm’s way. 

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said forcing vaccination on medics was a mistake, warning it could exacerbate staffing shortages among doctors and nurses. 

The ‘no jab, no job’ policy is already in care homes and staff working in elderly residences must be jabbed by November 11. 

Care bosses have warned many homes will be forced to close because they won’t be able to find enough vaccinated workers. 

The vaccines dramatically reduce a person’s risk of being hospitalised or dying from Covid, but they are slightly less effective at stopping transmission. 

‘During the first wave of the Covid pandemic, numbers attending [ED] dropped significantly, but numbers have been slowly rising since then and now are higher than ever.

‘We cannot escape the fact that there has been an increase in numbers of patients attending who would usually have been expected to have been managed in Primary Care.’

Dr Griffiths said there were ‘multiple factors’ at play, including GPs and administrative staff at surgeries advising patients go to A&E because they are too busy.

He wrote: ‘Some patients are saying that they are being told to go to the ED by their GP. My consultant colleague is aware that this is not necessarily always the case.

‘Some people may have been advised this. Of those who have, some of those may have been advised to do so by reception staff, some by clinicians. 

‘Some of those recommendations will have been appropriate, others may appear less so – but always we need to remember context and it is hard to know what may have been happening in the surgery at that time – understaffed, overwhelmed by demand – who knows?’

He added: ‘Sometimes GPs are sending patients to the ED rather than direct to a more appropriate speciality. 

‘I don’t believe GPs really want to do this, but it can sometimes be tricky to know what to do when there are barriers to doing the right thing. 

‘When GPs find it hard to get their patient seen by the appropriate speciality they will, sometimes, just send them to the ED.’

It comes as unvaccinated NHS staff are set to be told to get their Covid jabs or lose their jobs under plans being considered by the Government. 

Some 100,000 healthcare workers — or seven per cent — are still yet to show up for their first dose in England.

But Health Secretary Sajid Javid said bringing in compulsory jabs was the ‘clear direction of travel’ despite fears staff could quit the health service at a critical time.

When asked if the plans could come in this winter, Mr Javid told Sky News: ‘I’m leaning towards doing it.’

He said those who had failed to get the jab were putting seriously ill patients in harm’s way. 

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said forcing vaccination on medics was a mistake, warning it could exacerbate staffing shortages among doctors and nurses.

Patients England over the past week have shared their struggles trying to get GP appointments. 

Rachel Powell tweeted that after a week of trying ‘quite hard’ to get her 78-year-old mother a GP appointment, she dropped her off at A&E on Thursday and medics decided to admit her to hospital.

Andrew Shaw said his GP surgery is ‘hopeless’ after medics ‘wouldn’t see’ his 86-year-old father with dementia and an infected leg. He eventually turned to a private doctor, who prescribed him antibiotics and cost £98.

Meanwhile, Vicky Newman tweeted that she had to go to A&E on Thursday after suffering from endometriosis and being unable to get through to her GP.

And Teagan Allen said she spent ‘literally hours’ on the phone with her GP surgery last week trying to get an appointment but was told none were available and to go to A&E.

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