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GPs and nurses say NHS care 'worsening'

Survey reveals poor morale and widespread opposition to a range of new government initiatives

Mark Gould

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Most healthcare professionals believe that the quality of NHS patient care has worsened over the past 18 months, according to a new survey.

Of 1171 GPs, nurses and practice managers questioned for the Primary Concerns 2014 report some 63% of respondents believed that care had deteriorated in the preceding 18 months, compared with only 35% of respondents who held the same view when questioned for the report last year.

The new report also reveals a lack of support for ‘clinical commissioning groups’ (CCGs). GPs and nurses neither feel engaged with their CCGs, nor perceive CCG decisions to be reflective of their own views.

The survey by Cogora, a media and marketing services company, also found opposition from healthcare professionals to a number of new government proposals, including: the naming of GPs who fail to refer suspected cancer patients to hospital; giving the Care Quality Commission power to place GP practices who underperform under ‘special care’; and the co-location of GP facilities in hospital A&E departments, with over half of all GPs believing it would be the ‘final straw’ for already overworked practitioners.

For the second year in a row, the Primary Concerns report further describes a widespread morale problem among primary healthcare workers. In addition to factors related to the NHS such as bureaucracy, low salaries, and poor management, healthcare professionals also cited undeserved criticism from politicians and the media and unrealistic patient demand as reasons for their low morale.

“The fact that the majority of the respondents believe that care has worsened in the last 18 months is truly shocking and upsetting for both professionals and patients,” said Cogora’s Primary Care Editor-in-Chief, Victoria Vaughan.

“General practices are facing unprecedented pressures from all angles and it is clearly making it difficult for them to carry out their chief function which is to care for patients.”

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