Patrick Christys: Why do we have to convince GPs to see patients face to face?

The government is giving out £250m to help GP surgeries expand their facilities to incentivise them to get back into their practices.

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GP surgeries will be named and shamed if they fail to offer adequate face-to-face appointments. In fact, the government is giving out £250m to help GP surgeries expand their facilities to incentivise them to get back into their practices.

Practices will be told they must "respect preferences" for face-to-face care and should consider using the cash to extend opening hours and offer walk-in consultations to allow more patients to see a GP in person. Those failing to offer sufficient in-person appointments will be denied access to the fund.

How on earth has it come to this? How have we got to a stage where we have to convince our GPs to actually see patients face to face? To actually reward them for doing it.

Does a postman get a round of applause every time he delivers a letter? Does the bus driver get an extra fiver for stopping when you press the button? When the waiter at a restaurant simply brings you exactly what you ordered does everyone stop eating, turn round and pat him on the back?

No, because they’re just doing their job. They’re doing what they trained to do and what they’re paid to do.

Dr John Hughes, chairman of grassroots campaign group GP Survival, said: "There's never any money without major strings attached", calling the plan to publish GP appointment data "inappropriate" and saying it could "name and shame practices".

Who do you think you are? You actually want no strings attached cash from the government and then no accountability? You’re not living in the real world. How self-entitled is that. The idea that they’re slow to get back to work because they’re genuinely concerned about the Coronavirus is a lie.

Pretty much every single GP will be pro-vaccine, which will mean they’ve had it, they’ve been amongst the most vocal group of people telling us all to go and get jabbed so they must think it works.

So they’re protected, in their own minds at least. They will know better than anyone that Covid has a mortality rate of about 1.5%, which is hardly something to keep you awake at night. It’s got nothing to do with coronavirus, it’s got everything to do with laziness.

They know they’re being lazy, that’s why they’re fiddling the figures. It’s emerged that some phone consultations are being recorded as face-to-face appointments. They’re blaming it on out of date systems, the way appointments are booked.

Pull the other one – seven years at medical school and you can’t clock an appointment properly. You can diagnose pancreatic cancer but you can’t tick the right box to say whether or not you’ve seen someone in person?

Have a day off. So the figure showing that only 58% of appointments are face-to-face is too high, the true number will be less than that. Before the pandemic is was 80%. When I really think about it, the NHS has been responsible for some pretty shocking treatment when it comes to people close to me, in some cases resulting in death.

There’s been multiple misdiagnoses, administrative errors, incorrect treatments, cover-ups, and that’s just my family, and there’s only four of us. To be fair there used to be more but then some of them got treated by the NHS. I reckon we’ve probably all got a horror story about our dear health service. If someone asked me to go outside and clap for the NHS now, I’d tell them to go and take a long walk off a short pier.

The illusion that GPs are really there because they care deeply about the sanctity of human life has been shattered. It’s just a job for many of them. And that’s fine, but if that’s the case then they should treated like any other employee in any other job, and if they’re not pulling their weight, they’re not hitting their targets, they’re not turning up…then they should be warned, and then struck off if it continues.

At the end of the day, it is peoples lives we’re talking about here, even if many GPs seem to have forgotten that.