Here is a letter written by Dr Louise Irvine that was published in the Evening Standard this week: Don’t blame GPs for A&E crisis
Blaming this winter’s A&E crisis on GPs or the minority of patients who attend excessively is classic scapegoating and not supported by the data. A&E attendances this winter were about 270,000 a week — lower than nearly 300,000 a week in the summer. But this alone does not explain why there is a winter crisis. The problem is that hospitals have inadequate capacity to deal with the increased number of people needing admission. Hospitals should run at 85 per cent capacity to cope, but because of A&E closures, a lack of beds and staff cuts, many hospitals now run at over 95 per cent, and GPs are overwhelmed with rising consultation rates.
The NHS is under enormous pressure due to frozen or reduced budgets. The true culprits are the politicians who make the decisions about how our NHS is resourced, not the hapless person who feels the need to attend A&E 200 times a year. Such people are casualties of inadequate social and mental health services and not the cause of the A&E crisis. This problem was predictable and should have been planned for. Our government has failed to address the problem and continues to fail the NHS.
Dr Louise Irvine, London GP and National Health Action Party candidate