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From the doctor - April 2017

Two Rivers Medical Partnership

Whitchurch and Derrydown Clinics

General Practice is in crisis. Workload has increased substantially in recent years but unfortunately has not been matched by growth in either funding or in workforce.
Locally we have not been immune to this crisis. As you are aware Whitchurch surgery struggled two years ago when it was unable to retain or recruit doctors and this played a large part in the merger with Derrydown Clinic forming the new Two Rivers Medical Partnership.
Over the last five years the number of face to face and telephone consultations has increased by up to 63 per cent (Kings Fund data). Pressures on general practice are compounded by the fact that the work is becoming more complex and more intense. This is mainly because of our ageing population, increasing numbers of people with complex conditions, increased repeat prescriptions, initiatives to move care from hospitals to the community, underfunded community services and social services and rising public expectations.
Funding for primary care as a share of the NHS overall budget has fallen every year in the past five years from 8.3 per cent to just over 7.9 per cent.
Despite this crisis general practice is consistently the most popular part of the NHS. It feels an absolute privilege to be a doctor in this community, frequently your advocate or companion on one of your many journeys.
Your dedicated and enthusiastic team here are trying to make the best of this challenging situation while maintaining our core values of continuity and personal medicine. We are being creative; one example is recognising as a GP we can no longer do everything and now work collaboratively with advanced nurse practitioners alongside other clinicians. We have an innovative new website, we are soon to try e-consulting, face time consulting, and are about to fully implement telephone triage for requests for acute urgent problems.
We continue to work with our newly formed and active patient group, exploring new ways to help people in the community; our latest ideas around how we support the most frail and isolated. I would again use this opportunity to encourage people to keep seeing their registered doctor/nurse practitioner team when possible to continue to improve continuity. Please keep showing your support for the team and our profession and perhaps think about joining the patient group and contributing to a project. And keep supporting our fantastic NHS!
An honest answer to your request to discuss our current pressures...now back to the prescriptions!
Dr Dan Lickman

One of your GPs
Two Rivers Medical Partnership