Did you see Panorama last night? Private ownership of NHS primary care, is it a good idea? Maybe not, unless major improvements can be made.
This undercover story made one thing clear to us. Even though we still hear how much we aren’t meeting our patients’ demands for appointments, the situation is better than in the surgeries portrayed.A 4-month wait to see/speak to a GP? Yes, our patients complain as they have tried for a week, or two, perhaps. The odd one complains they couldn’t get an appointment when one was offered to them, but they felt it didn’t suit them.
The programme was rather hard on Physician Associates. Describing them as substandard professionals. This is not true. Instead, what the report really showed, was a lack of support for the PAs in these surgeries.
We also have a PA. A young lady who has trained for 5 years to perform her current role. She receives a debrief with a GP every morning and every afternoon and will often discuss patients during the sessions too when this is appropriate.
With the right support in place, a PA can be a great addition to the primary care team. Much like an Advanced Nurse Practitioner, although their backgrounds, training, and skills can be quite different.
Interested to know more? Why not have a look at Panorama on i-player. Perhaps we don’t do too badly after all. Even while we always continue to strive to do even better.