As reported by Manchester Evening News, a GP has warned that patient’s with an ‘Amazon Prime Mentality’ are adding to the ‘increased pressure’ on doctors and A&E staff
Dr Jonathan Griffiths, a GP in Winsford, Cheshire, says Emergency Departments are trying to deal with an ‘increased demand,’ with the number of people attending ‘higher than ever.’ The GP has documented his views on his personal blog, where he talks about issues within the NHS, Cheshire Live reports.
The senior doctor has now published a blog article titled ‘The Emergency Department‘ where he reflects on a chat with an Emergency Department consultant. Dr Griffiths said: “They are trying to deal with the current increased demand into the NHS, just as we all are.
“There has been an increase in numbers attending the Emergency Department (ED).
“During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic numbers attending dropped significantly, but numbers have been slowly rising since then and now are higher than ever.
“We cannot escape the fact that there has been an increase in numbers of patients attending who would usually have been expected to have been managed in primary care.”
Dr Griffiths says he and the consultant spoke about about what is driving the increased pressure and claimed there are ‘multiple factors’. One factor that Dr Griffiths refers to is primary care patients presenting themselves to A&E and says he spoke about the ‘Amazon Prime mentality’, which is the inability to wait.
He said: “We talked about the ‘Amazon Prime’ mentality that we all now have – high expectations and inability to wait for anything.
“There are significant numbers of people aged 30-50 presenting to the ED with undifferentiated symptoms that are possibly better managed by GPs.
“These individuals do not want to wait for GP assessment and want everything investigated and sorted in one trip. This is what they get in the ED.”
The GP says that patients may spend all night in the department but but will receive blood tests, scans, ECGs and X-rays, so they recommend visiting to their friends.
The blog read: “By and large, they have nothing wrong with them and should never have been there in the first place.
“In our conversation we were both concerned that people seem to be less able to self-manage minor illness and seem to be presenting at earlier stages.
“This is certainly true in general practice where we are seeing patients seeking help after a few hours of a sore throat or cough.
“It seems a proportion of these patients are also heading to the ED.”
The GP goes on to say that some patients may have ‘struggled’ to speak to their GP and have the ‘false perception’ that the surgery is shut.
“Sometimes people are not prepared to wait (I think on occasion people are speaking to GP reception in the morning and being offered an afternoon appointment and going to the ED instead – where they will wait all day anyway).” the blog post read.
“Sometimes GPs are sending patients to the ED rather than direct to a more appropriate speciality.
“I don’t believe GPs really want to do this, but it can sometimes be tricky to know what to do when there are barriers to doing the right thing.
“When GPs find it hard to get their patient seen by the appropriate speciality they will, sometimes, just send them to the ED.”
Dr Griffiths offers some potential solutions that could make a ‘positive difference’ to the issues GPs and emergency services are facing.
The solutions he states include the need for the NHS to work together, more public facing communications as he feels there is a ‘disconnect’ between expectations and the reality of what NHS services are currently able to provide.
He said: “The key take home for me, once again, was that we need to talk to our colleagues more.
“When we understand each other, we start to work together and come up with solutions to the problems we are all facing.
“For me, the COVID-19 pandemic has in some cases led to increased silo working. Now is the time to change that.”