The Shortage of General Practitioners in the UK Won’t Get Better Soon

It seems GP’s in the UK aren’t working full time. Average GP now works 3.5 days a week – and just one in 20 trainees plans to do the job full-time.

The average GP now works less than three-and-a-half days a week – and just one in 20 trainee doctors intends to do the job full-time, research shows.

Why? The job has become too intense to work that long. (Burnout, in other words.)

Patient groups are freaking out, given the current shortage of GPs. (This article from January was referenced.)

The rest is lost behind a pay wall, but it can’t paint a much more bleak picture.

Workload. Bureaucratic Insanity. Probably a few other things are making it not rewarding to be a doctor, only grueling. At least in the UK. That leads to people pursuing other options, and that leads to a doctor shortage.

If you’re smart enough to be a doctor, then you’re also smart enough to figure out that working for the largest bureaucracy in the country might not be what you want to do. So the folks in the UK have health insurance – everything is paid for by the government. It is just health care that is hard to get.

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The British No Longer Want To Work for the National Health Service

That’s what the headline should read. See NHS has a problem, but I think they’re looking in the wrong place for a solution. Fears for NHS as apprenticeships fail to plug gaps left by Brexit brain drain.

The Remainers are still rehashing the campaign over Brexit. (Sort of like the Left and the “Not My President” tantrum in America.) But the real issue is, why can’t UK’s NHS raise enough nurses from the UK population?

Figures released by the Department for Education show a 36% drop in the number of people taking up NHS apprenticeships between 2015/16 and 2017/18, with take-up of such positions falling way short of government predictions.

Despite ministerial pledges to plug recruitment gaps with the help of 1,000 apprentice nurses a year, the official data also shows that in January 2018 just 20 apprentices started the registered nurse degree apprenticeship while just 10 people signed up for new “nursing associate” training in the same period.

The reason for the shortfall isn’t so much Brexit, as it is the low pay, long hours, and general malaise of working for a large bureaucracy. OH, and they used to provide monetary support during training. Now it is mostly loans. Loans which end up being large enough, that paying them off becomes a serious problem. (See that issue with low pay.)

The number quoted in the article: 42,000 nursing positions are vacant. The staff that is left to do the work has “low morale.” Gee, you think?

70 Years of NHS Proves It Isn’t Working

But why clutter the issue with facts? Why Does the Left Want Universal Health Care? Britain’s Is on Its Deathbed.

If you are smart enough to be a doctor, you are smart enough to know that you probably don’t want to work for one of the biggest bureaucracies in the world. This is especially true if the pay is low. The NHS started recruiting doctors from India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka in the 1960s. It hasn’t helped.

Nevertheless, shortages persist. One in 11 NHS posts is currently vacant. Four in five NHS staff worry that these vacancies jeopardize patient safety. The NHS has among the lowest amount of doctors, nurses, and hospital beds than any country in the Western world on a per-capita basis, according to a report from the King’s Fund.

Simply put, the NHS is unequipped to care for its citizens.

The real shock is that 10% of Brits have private insurance, because waiting on NHS is not a good thing. (OK, maybe it isn’t a shock.)

Patients in the UK Left to Pay For the Their Own Treatment

This isn’t supposed to happen in the UK, but it seems that NHS has “run out of other people’s money.‘The money has run out’ – health bosses’ admission as hip and knee patients denied NHS operations.

The rules are set so that doctors have to make an “exceptional funding request” to get hip or knee replacements for patients. But that has run into budgetary constraints.

The new study shows that while some local areas are rejecting around 18 per cent of hip and knee requests, others reject nearly all.

There is much hand-wringing on the part of various doctors, but the effectiveness of the operations isn’t the issue.

Julie Wood, chief executive of NHS Clinical Commissioners, the membership organisation for local health bodies, said: “The money has in effect run out, and CCGs have got to find ways of delivering greater efficiencies. [See the link for a definition of Clinical Commissioning Group]

This isn’t the only issue of rationing care under NHS. Hernia operations are currently denied until someone is in so much pain as to be unable to work. In a little bit of pain, or even a lot of pain? So what; go to work.

Cost comparisons of what a knee or hip replacement would cost in various European countries versus paying for it in the UK is pretty interesting.

So Health Care is paid for under the .gov budget. Except when it isn’t paid for. This past winter, the NHS had a ‘Crisis’ that caused them to cancel most routine surgery. Now hernia and joint replacements are being denied. I can’t wait until we have Socialized Medicine.

“Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money.” Margaret Thatcher – 5 February 1976.

“When the state is a monopoly provider of health care, there is a political interest in suppressing bad news.”

At least 650 people were outright killed by NHS at one hospital, and management covered it up. For years. Reform the NHS Before It Kills Again.

Relatives complained to the police, and they were told to stop stirring up trouble. Nurses and other staff complained to the main office, and management complained of “interference from headquarters.” Then there was the injection of politics around an election. And still the killing went on.

NHS managers covered up the unlawful killing of up to 650 patients at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital on the English south coast.

Again, that was at 1 hospital.

Proponents of socialized medicine condemn profit in health care, but a for-profit hospital does not have a financial interest in killing its patients. In the NHS, patients are a cost and troublesome ones can be put on a syringe driver, something a nurse told the police happened at Gosport.

The Wall Street Journal article has more details.

I can’t wait until we have socialized medicine. (I held this back until today, to add some counterweight to the glowing appraisals of NHS as it celebrates its 70th anniversary.)

Insurance Doesn’t Mean That You Have Health Care

If you can’t see a doctor, do you have health care? In the United Kingdom, the government pays for virtually all health care. It just isn’t always the best health care. Two in five GPs in England intend to quit within five years – survey

Now the Guardian can be a bit sensational, but they didn’t run the survey. General Practitioners in the UK are not a happy bunch. They are overseen by a bunch of .gov bean counters, they are overworked and spend a lot of time filling in forms.

Two out of every five GPs intend to quit within the next five years – the largest proportion on record, government-funded research shows.

A survey of 2,195 GPs in England undertaken in late 2017 found that 39% were likely to leave “direct patient care” by 2022. That compares to 19.4% in 2005 and 35.3% in 2015

It would be interesting to know of the GPs in those previous surveys quit when they said they would.

I know in the past, UK’s National Health Service has had trouble filling positions, both in general practice and in Accident and Emergency Wards. (There was a doctors’ strike in 2016.) The number of foreign-language workers (from doctors to nurses to cleaners) has caused problems. If you are smart enough to be a doctor, then you are probably smart enough to realize you don’t want to work for one of the largest .gov bureaucracies in the world.

Failings of the NHS can be found on this blog, and in the archives blog.

I Can’t Wait Until We Have Socialized Medicine Like Canada

Because it sounds so great. Paramedics held hostage by hospitals: 37,000 hours spent waiting to transfer patients to ER | Ottawa Citizen

If an ambulance arrives at an Emergency Room, and the staff is overwhelmed, the ambulance crew have to continue to care for the injured party. And since there is a shortage of nurses and hospital beds in Ottawa, that can take a while.

Ottawa paramedics collectively spent more than 37,000 hours last year waiting to be released from various emergency rooms. That’s the equivalent to more than 1,500 days. The number is also up from 27,445 hours spent waiting in 2014.

That’s in 1 city. 1,500 days of ambulance/EMS worker time.

When there’s no nurse or bed available at hospitals, paramedics are left to take care of the patients they’ve picked up. “That’s not our responsibility,” Di Monte said. “What about the 65-year-old lady that slipped in her home and fractured her hip? She’s now waiting.”

Or the business exec who is having a heart attack…. He may be dying. In Ottawa’s case, it may be a government bureaucrat who is dying. (No tax-collector jokes, please.)

Various parts of the .gov are pointing fingers at each other. The Canadian federal .gov is helping out because apparently Ottawa (Canada’s Capital City) can’t manage to build or staff enough hospitals without help from the rest of the country. (One hospital was near 120% of capacity on several occasions, while 2 more were near 100%.

So why not build more to meet demand? More hospitals, or expand existing? Because the .gov has to decide! The Market cannot be allowed in this sensitive area of your life!