Patient safety under threat in UK as care crisis looms, GPs warn

Patient safety is under threat in the UK say the country's general  practitioners  (GPs) warning of an emerging care crisis amidst increasing workload and staff shortages.

A comprehensive survey of 5,000 GPs, conducted by the British Medical Association (BMA),  revealed increasing pressures in general practice across the country, with over eight out of 10  GPs finding  their workload unmanageable or excessive, according to the survey. 

Meanwhile,  Yorkshire has been cited as being one of the hardest hit areas of the country. Increasing time pressures and staffing shortages, coupled with shrinking  budgets, doctors say, were directly impacting on the quality and safety of patient care they could provide. 

''We are facing a crisis in general practice and community service which the Government has to address,'' The Yorkshire Post reported Leeds GP Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chairman of the British Medical Association GP committee.

''The reality is there's not enough GPs, nurses and community staff to provide the level of service that we want to. That is undermining the quality of care they can give to their patients. ''The Government has to fund an expansion of services,'' he warned. ''A failure to do will result in a failure of the NHS as a whole.'' 

Meanwhile, patients remain at risk as GPs struggle to provide a safe service, a survey would show today.

The poll of 5,025 British Medical Association members found that 84 per cent believed that their workload was affecting care quality and only one in 10 thought they could offer a safe service.

Doctors claim they are not being given enough funding to meet the needs of the rising and ageing population.

Surgeries were also facing a recruitment crisis, with up to a third of GPs planning to retire or quit in the next five years. Further one in eight posts was now empty with many doctors heading abroad and too few being trained.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the BMA GPs committee, said last night, "We cannot continue to have a service that cannot deliver a safe and effective level of care to the public.

"This major survey of more than 5,000 GPs in England demonstrates that GP practices across the country are struggling to provide safe, high-quality patient care because of unmanageable workload, Daily Mail reported.