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East Lancashire patients suffer in paper trail
THE increasing piles of paperwork and needless ‘box-ticking’ exercises faced by doctors have started to have an impact on patient care, GPs said.
The Lancashire branch of the British Medical Association (BMA) said doctors were required to spend far too much time filling out ‘dubious’ government-designed questionnaires.
This means they are less focused on patients and fewer appointments can be offered, according to Dr David Wrigley, the BMA’s county spokesman.
Difficulties in getting a GP appointment in East Lancashire have exacerbated problems at the the Royal Blackburn and Burnley General hospitals, as many patients have opted to seek help from the emergency department or urgent care centres instead.
NHS inspectors recently highlighted the high levels of attendances at the hospitals as a major problem, as staff can sometimes be diverted from helping those with more serious problems.
Dr Wrigley said: “Local GPs are fed up with the Government constantly piling more paperwork on them and also changing the goal posts every year.
“We just need to be left alone to care for our patients. The time taken ticking boxes means I have less time for those patients in real need of my care.
“On a daily basis I have to fill out a variety of lengthy and dubious government-designed questionnaires, asking such things as how many hours patients spend on cooking and DIY.
“I am also having to offer blood pressure tests to healthy 35 to 40-year-olds, whether they have a problem or not.”
In a national BMA survey, 82 per cent said the burden of excessive paperwork was adversely affecting patient care.
An NHS England spokesman said: “NHS England recognises this is a challenging time for GPs, as it is right across the NHS, but we need to implement policies to ensure patients, particularly those with long-term health problems and those most at risk of developing life-threatening conditions, receive the very best care in line with the most up-to-date evidence.”
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