Richard Madeley dumbfounded by GP 'home visits'
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It came as Professor Martin Marshall, GP and chair of the Royal College of GPs, joined Richard Madeley and Charlotte Hawkins on Tuesday’s Good Morning Britain to discuss the issue, with Dr Daniel Olaiya agreeing with the notion that fines should be implemented for people who fail to turn up to GP appointments. As Professor Marshall insisted the NHS had to be “compassionate” and make home visits to people who have missed an appointment if they might be struggling mentally, Richard Madeley scoffed as he asked: “What are those?”
“What we need is a compassionate service, a service that’s understanding,” Prof Marshall explained.
“We need general practice where we know our patients, where we know those who might have genuine problems.
“And as GPs we follow those people up – we often will go out and do a home visit on somebody who failed to turn up in order to make sure that they’re cared for.”
He told ITV viewers: “It’s caring that matters in the NHS.”
“Did you say home visit?” Richard asked before sarcastically slapping down his guest’s suggestion: “What are those?”
He laughed as he continued: “That’s like seeing a policeman on the beat.”
It came as Prof Martin disagreed with finding no-shows, insisting that it isn’t “the right answer”.
He explained: “It can be very frustrating when people don’t turn up for appointments, particularly at a time when general practice is under such enormous pressure.
“But I don’t think fining people for not turning up is the right answer and that’s because most of the people who fail to turn up aren’t malign in some way or another.
“They might have a mental health problem, they might have a physical health problem, they might have other things on their mind. Many of them are living very chaotic lives.
“Difficulty paying their bills, difficulty feeding their kids, and in those kinds of situations, the last thing we want to do is to punish those patients for not turning up.
“What we are doing in general practice is making sure that they’re reminded, sending text messages and sending emails before appointments.”
On the other side of the argument, Dr Olaiya remarked: “It’s not about the punishment, it’s about setting a standard.”
He added the amount of money that missed appointments are costing the NHS “could be better spent elsewhere”.
“It’s about appreciating what we have here,” he argued.
“The NHS isn’t an endless fountain of healthcare or time and money, it’s very finite.
“And actually, it’s under-resourced at the moment. 1.4, or 1million a day, whatever the figure is, it’s a lot of money and it could be better spent elsewhere.
“And I think we need to challenge ourselves to be more business-like because we have an NHS which is under pressure.
“We need to be more efficient and we need to be more economic.
“At the moment, it’s just not right, we’re not doing the right thing as doctors, it doesn’t make sense.”
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV.
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