A Dales doctor claims GPs are at breaking point when it comes to workload and is asking people to have patience when it comes to getting an appointment.
Dr Peter Holden, a partner in Imperial Road surgery, in Matlock and chairman of the British Medical Association East Midlands, said he is sick of people ‘bashing’ GPS when they cannot get an appointment.
“The system was never geared up for the demand wehave got now,” he said.
“The number of times you come to see the doctor has doubled in the last ten years.”
Dr Holden said some of this increase was due to GPs having a greater workload in areas such as chronic disease management.
However he also said people are also more likely to contact their GP for ailments that can be treated via other means. In particular he said people under 35 were guilty of calling the doctor unnnecessarily.
“They want everything ‘now, now, now, me, me, me’,” he added.
Dr Holden said young people wishing to enter into the health profession were being put off it by the workload and revealed that figures released this week by Heath Education England showed the East Midlands was the worst in the country for young people entering the the health service, which 40 per cent of training vacancies empty.
Dr Holden explained he receives £65 a year from central Government for each patient on his books.
“I get less moneyin a year to look after you than you’ll spend on pet insurance,” he added.
“The health service is an absolute bargain.”
He said the average GP is contracted to work 52 and a half hours a week and will be saleried £103,000, which will include things such as out of hours work and money for dispensing and training.
“Most doctors are working between 60 and 70 hours per week however,” Dr Holden said.
“Surgeries are struggling to cope.
“Doctors are coming in to work at 7.30 in the morning and not leaving until 9 at night.”
He added that appointments were available for those who needed them urgently.
Dr Holden said he suspected the Government was purposefully pushing GPs to breaking point, believing that if they walked, the NHS would collapse and the Government would not longer have to pay for it.
To comment on this story online, visit the Matlock Mercury website, www.matlockmercury.co.uk