Leading GP responds to criticism of Bradford doctors’ surgeries

A TOP Bradford GP has responded to growing criticism of doctors’ surgeries over patient wait times and ongoing virtual appointments.

Dr Tamjeed Abdul Hakeem made a strong defense of his profession after Councilor Zafar Iqbal (Bradford Moor) said people had serious difficulties getting an appointment and called virtual consultations potentially ‘dangerous’ and “No longer needed”.

Dr Hakeem, a general practitioner at Bradford Moor Practice at Barkerend Health Center, said many GPs have been working “tirelessly” since the start of the pandemic, spending 10 to 12 hours a day in the office.

He said he “now believes it is vital, for the benefit of Bradford patients, that a balanced view be given” on the challenges currently facing GP practices in the district.

Dr Hakeem, who is also clinical director of the Bradford City 5 Primary Care Network, which is made up of 10 local GP practices serving over 50,000 patients, said: “First, the view that virtual consultations to curb the spread of Covid-19 are no longer necessary. ‘lack of foresight in reality.

“Like most small employers, general practitioner practices have a limited number of clinical and non-clinical staff. If there is an outbreak of Covid-19 among our staff pool, the effect on the level of care we are able to provide to our patients will be detrimental.

“We must therefore remain vigilant and insist on safe infection control among staff and our patients and minimize unnecessary physical contact. As the winter months approach and a high number of influenza infections are forecast, this is even more important.

“However, of course all general practitioner practices continue to see patients face to face whenever deemed necessary.”

Dr Hakeem pointed out that NHS England had ‘pushed’ for more online services in GP practices even before Covid, in part due to ‘a large number of GPs retiring and not being replaced’ in over the past two decades.

He said strong controls and training were in place and added: “Online dating was never intended to replace face-to-face meetings, rather it helps ensure that those who really need face-to-face care can actually receive it. ”

With that in mind, he said claims that serious conditions could be overlooked seemed rather “alarmist”.

Dr Hakeem also rejected suggestions that the lack of GP appointments was the cause of longer wait times for A&E. He said: “It has no basis in relation to the realities of what we are seeing on the ground. Unfortunately, some people – as has “always” been the case – use A&E services for minor ailments and chronic illnesses. We need to encourage our population to use highly trained local community pharmacists for minor ailments and generally make more use of the electronic consultation service in GP surgeries for elective conditions.

“Looking at the latest data (June 21) available on NHS Digital, we find that in fact 61% of appointments were made face-to-face in the District of Bradford, exceeding the national breakdown by 56%.”

However, Dr Hakeem said he “sympathizes with frustrated patients who find it difficult to reach their GP practice on busy phone lines” and he “strongly encourages all GP practices to consider setting up a telephone queue system “.

He underlined how “all general surgeries now have an established online service offer (e-Consult), where patients are contacted by their general practitioner practice generally within 48 hours of sending a request. and advises patients with “non-urgent requests” to use this service to “free up telephone lines for urgent requests and for those who have difficulty using online services”.

He added that “all NHS services are under tremendous pressure” and GP practices “currently have to screen all requests and make clinical decisions to determine which patients require a home visit, should be seen in face to face, by phone or video call. .

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