As our patients are aware, the NHS is in crisis with demand rising exponentially with more people living longer with multiple long term illnesses. Unfortunately the increased workload does not bring with it increased funding. We are given a fixed amount of money to look after each of our patients - we are funded per patient, not per visit. We receive approximately £100 per patient per year - from this we pay for our staff costs, premises costs and upkeep, equipment, and utility bills for light, heat, internet connection, telephones, postage and cleaning.
Most patients attend between 6-8 times per year but a large number attend over 100 times a year. If supermarkets worked in this way, where at the beginning of the year you could pay £100 and then go to the supermarket as often as you liked and take as many items as you wanted, they would go bust within a week. However these are the conditions under which General Practices are expected to work, so every penny is precious and costs have to be very tightly controlled. It is a very difficult balancing act, which more and more GP Practices are struggling with, which is why so many GP Practices are closing down.
As a Practice we have over 100,000 patient contacts per year.
We deal with approximately 4000 hospital letters, test results and other correspondence per week.
We issue almost 300,000 prescriptions per year.
Our GPs attend meetings with Health and Social Care Staff. They are often asked to attend court as expert witnesses. They are asked to complete numerous reports for other public services. They attend and complete ongoing training. All the while trying to provide the best level of care for our patients.
Our GPs work on average 13-14 hours per day.
Please help us to help you by considering these options when you need help:
1. ‘Pharmacy First’ is a national programme to make better use of pharmacy skills and widen the range of services available in local pharmacies.
Under the scheme pharmacies across NHS Ayrshire & Arran should be the first port of call for women suffering from uncomplicated urine infections and people over the age of two with the skin condition, impetigo. For adults aged 18 and over can also visit their pharmacy for treatment for skin infections and shingles.
When a person attends their community pharmacy with one of the above conditions, the pharmacist will assess them and, where appropriate, prescribe medication. If the person is not eligible for treatment, they will be referred to the most appropriate service.
In the first year of the service almost 4,000 people have been treated without needing to be referred to their family doctor (GP) or the out-of-hours-service. These conditions are some of the most common conditions seen by GPs. Offering treatment in pharmacies not only takes pressure off GP services, including out-of-hours, but also makes it easier for people to get help without having to make an appointment. Most pharmacies are open six days-a-week with some even open in the evenings and on Sundays.
The Minor Ailment Service is also available in community pharmacies to eligible patients (up to 16 years or under 19 and in full-time education, 60 years and older and those on certain benefits). After a consultation with their community pharmacist, people may be provided with treatment, given advice or referred to their GP or out-of-hours service. In Ayrshire 65,000 people are registered with their community pharmacy for this service with almost 10,000 people consulting with their pharmacist every month.
As well as common clinical conditions, your community pharmacist can:
- support people who want to give up smoking, with advice and free nicotine replacement or champix, as appropriate; and
- provide sexual health advice, including providing the emergency hormonal contraception (morning after pill), as well as testing and treatment of some sexually transmitted infections, including chlamydia and gonorrhoea.
Some community pharmacies also offer a range of services to help you stay fit and healthy – for example, blood pressure monitoring, respiratory review and travel clinics. As experts in medicines, community pharmacists can also give you advice on your prescribed and purchased medicines and how to get the most benefit from them.
Remember to think ‘Pharmacy First’ when you need healthcare advice
2. Eye Problems
Eye care for a range of eye problems is at high street optician practices through the Eyecare Ayrshire service.
Patients with the following can be seen by an optometrist:
Any changes to clarity of vision including distortion/shadows/vision loss/blurring/peripheral vision problems
Red eye(s) or sore or gritty feeling eye(s)
Watery or dry eye(s)
Itchy or sticky eye(s)
Flashing lights and/or floaters
Swelling around the eyes
Foreign body - for example dust or grit