Christmas Time with General Practice

As we are entering the Christmas month, we are filled with festive cheer and busy days and nights running around headless in the cold! Although it is ‘the most wonderful time of the year’, we must be aware it is also the most busiest in every aspect!

To make sure everyone is aware of how their GP Practices will be available, we have put together some important information for patients and Practice managers.

We are all aware of ‘winter pressures’, which put a strain on all Primary Care services. So to ensure patients can get the best services;

Practices should ensure that:

  • patients are aware of any closures in advance by using surgery notices, and including messages on repeat prescriptions
  • arrangements are in place to ensure that repeat prescriptions are ordered and collected in a timely matter to avoid requests over the period of practice closure
  • answer phone messages should be changed at 18:30 on the afternoons of early closure – in particular – for opted out practices where there is a change from the sub-contracted provider to NHS 111


Helpful tips to prepare for the holiday period

In addition to the contractual guidance below, the following are suggestions for actions practices might consider to ensure your patients’ reasonable needs and your practices’ contractual obligations are met.

Following these tips will help to promote the smooth running of out of hours services and to ease pressures on your practice on days when the practice is open:

  • Minimise or avoid pre-booking advance appointments, particularly for non-essential services, from 23 December to 6 January
  • Minimise or avoid appointments for routine consultations, i.e. non-essential services from 23 December to 6 January
  • Ensure on any half day closing that a GP from the practice is contactable by the covering out of hours or other service in case of unforeseen queries
  • Advertise practice half day closing arrangements well in advance on prescription counterfoils, posters and other media at the practice, commencing as soon as possible if you have not already done so
  • Extend repeat prescriptions so they do not fall due during the period 23 December to 6 January
  • Ensure pharmacists collect “collection and delivery” prescriptions before the practice closes
  • Ensure patients on opiate substitution prescriptions have enough to cover practice closure periods and collect their prescriptions before closing
  • Ensure urgent lab tests carried out during this period have the clinical condition and phone number of the patient clearly on the form
  • Ensure special notes are sent to the out of hours organisation on vulnerable patients e.g. those without mental capacity, those with complex or terminal conditions and those where special arrangements are in place (e.g. GP to be informed during the out of hours period if patient dies)
  • Ensure residential and nursing home patients have repeat prescriptions, know the opening times and any sick patients have been reviewed before closing the practice [1]

We hope this helps you, and allows patients to know what to expect during this time of year.

Tis’ the season to be jolly after all!

[1], (2015). BMA – GP Services During Holiday Period | British Medical Association. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Dec. 2015].


Medical Students Driven To Suicidal Thoughts

No matter what area of study you decide to learn and commit to, your time and life is absorbed. Students are consistently feeling under pressure, and some even face depression. Medical students are no exception when it comes to their years of learning and training.

A study in Student BMJ had recently published the findings that one in seven medical students have thought about committing suicide whilst studying.

They had 1,122 UK based respondents to the poll, which represents around 2% of all medical students in the UK…more than 80% of those with mental health issues felt they got poor or barely adequate support from their medical schools, and around one in seven (almost 15%;167) said that they had considered committing suicide while studying at medical school. [1]

The study also highlighted other attributes of struggle, such as; drinking, smoking and taking drugs. What seemed interesting is that some of them even took ‘smart drugs’ to help with their revision.

This highlights the struggles that all students face when it comes to the pressures of examination. Looking at medical students in particular is interesting because it could be argued they know what they are doing to their body, but choose to use them because of the pressure. Another argument is, they go into medicine to potentially save lives, and one in seven consider taking their own.

Furthermore, because they are medical students they may feel they cannot report their issues as they may be deemed unfit for practice. Which would in turn also affect their results in a negative way.

It is a combat of emotions for medical students who have numerous exams, and have to get used to the emotional side of dealing with sick patients regularly.

Perhaps this is the best time to open this discussion as the New Year starts for students. To hopefully have lecturers and tutors discuss the approach they have to mental health, and the wellbeing of medical students.

If you have suffered, please let us know your story.

Or please share any thoughts you may have in regards to this study.

[1],. ‘Onmedica – News – One In Seven UK Medical Students Has Thought About Committing Suicide’. N.p., 2015.

Music Can Reduce Pain For Surgery!

Music has always been discussed as being powerful, with the ability to help trigger brain power and personal emotions. Well, now it seems to be able to aid patients who undergo surgery.

A study has been done by Queen Mary University of London who found that patients who listened to music during surgery didn’t need as much pain relief as others, and were less anxious about the procedure.

These patients were put under general anesthetic, but still found it had an impact on reducing stress and pain. Although it did not speed up recovery, the process was less painful. Therefore the scientists propose that the NHS advise patients to bring a music playing device with them when they are due for surgery.

The team reviewed 70 trials, involving about 7,000 patients around the time of surgery, comparing a wide variety of mostly “soothing” music…The researchers are following up this work with a study at the Royal London Hospital in the autumn. About 40 women having either a Cesarean section or a hysteroscopy will be given the chance to have their playlist connected to a pillow with in-built loudspeakers. [1]

This may be an interesting result to monitor, however, there is of course the argument that music during surgery is distracting. However, if the music can be played without bothering the medical team it should not be an issue.

The team also made the point that music is non-evasive, and since patients are the people having the surgery, they should be given the option.

Let us know what your thoughts are.

[1] BBC News,. ‘Music ‘Reduces Pain And Anxiety’ For Surgery Patients – BBC News’. N.p., 2015. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.

Why Be a Salaried GP?

After the issues that have brewed with the NHS and the shortage of GP’s, general practitioners have realized that there may be a better way to do the job they love to do. We found a solution to the answer by providing salaried positions to General Practitioners. There are numerous benefits as to why this could solve some of the issues surrounding the career, and be of a huge benefit to the said GP!

  1. Stability

heaven gif No more concerns, or worries about what the future may hold, or the stress you may feel within a practice. As a Salaried GP you will have a stable work environment, and find your place in a hardworking team. You will also have financial stability; knowing you have a guaranteed job and income, on fixed terms arranged by yourself. Not to mention having a structured working week, making it easier to plan social engagements, childcare etc.

  1. Fixed Commitment

so good gif While your employer can request that you do an extra shift, you do not have to accept, and they cannot demand that you provide the extra cover. Your main commitment will be to clinical work, and many doctors prefer this – managing other employees, dealing with the upkeep of the building, keeping an eye on the accounts will not be your responsibility.

  1. Extra Benefits

love-this-job MDU fees are paid for you, alongside your highly paid annum salary. Paid annual leave, sickness and maternity benefits.

  1. Less Stress

need to relax gif In a salaried role the GP can focus on the clinical work and won’t have to worry or deal with the responsibilities of a partner.

  1. Continuity

good-challenging-messy-3 Having a perm positions means that relationships can be built with the same patients. Training and development will be accessible also, all with no strings attached should It ever come to the GP wanting to leave the practice. Contact us today to find out more about what Salaried positions we can do for you! Call: 0203 137 2114 Email:

7 Reasons To Be a GP

With the shortage of General Practitioners still being an issue in the Primary Care sector, we came to think about why there is a shortage? And if it’s the NHS that’s causing you trouble, or the government, why not take a moment to think about the ideal life as a locum GP.

We took the liberty of accumulating the dream life for you…

1. VarietySo much choice!


GP’s have a full range of medical, psychological, social problems. Not to mention enjoying different practices which will allow you opportunities to work with different GPs, and treat different patients. This will help you build more relationships and gain more skills enabling you to have a better career.


2. Independence All decisions are up to you!


Considerable day-to-day autonomy, you choose when & where. Which also allows for a better work life and personal life balance.

3. Money –
Basically, lots of it.


Value with portfolio work too, but you’re also looking at £200K a year!

4. More clinicalin a nutshell less paper work


5. Time Off – Good opportunity to take time off and recover from registrar year.

relax gif

Not to mention, NO EXAMS!!

6. Helping People – You’re the savior really.


The profession can be rewarding and self-fulfilling. You’re responsible for helping and maintaining the health of a large group of people of all ages. You can relieve someone’s pain, deliver a newborn, detect health problems that may otherwise go unnoticed and make referrals to see specialists for further testing and care.


7. Power – And lets not forget to be a GP in general is underrated…they know about everything. 

king of the world gif

Since general practitioners don’t specialize in certain areas, they diagnose and treat a variety of illnesses, diseases and other ailments that affect all parts of the body…so they basically hold all the power.

As you can see life of a Locum GP is one not to missed out on. Even a salaried life as a GP seems pretty darn great, are we right?

Get in touch today to see why!

Call: 0203 137 2114


NHS Staff; Are You Afraid To Speak?

Recent reports are starting to ask if the NHS pressures have resulted in intimidating their staff into not speaking out about their problems at work.

This is an interesting topic to discuss, because the staff are always the heart of the healthcare environment.

It has been said that a ‘significant proportion of NHS workers would not raise concerns – either because they were afraid of the potential consequences, or because they felt nothing would be done.’ [1]

We want to know if you feel this is you? Do you feel your voice isn’t heard? Or, do you feel it wouldn’t make a difference if it was?

The same report stated that workers were scared to voice their opinions due to fear of bullying even. The very fact that staff are at conflict with each other shows the real severity that lies within NHS environments. In some cases staff feel so intimidated that there has been a rise in suicide rates.

We still hope that the NHS is finding solutions to it’s problems. But something that needs attention internally is clearly not thought about often, if at all.

So please let us know your concerns.

Do you feel unappreciated or intimidated in your position?

Please leave your comments, or email us at:

[1] BBC News, (2015). NHS staff ‘afraid to speak out’. Available at:

Are the NHS Causing Nurses Stress?

We believe it’s safe to say we are all waiting for resolutions to fall in place to fix the issues that the NHS are facing. A&E has been in the headline for months, and the debates have been snowballing as a result. With a sense of unease and uncertainty being up in the air staff have had to continue to do the best they can, and perform their job regardless.

Of course we have also heard from numerous doctors and nurses, who have opened the public’s eyes to what is now an evermore stressful environment to work in.

The number of nurses taking time off due to stress has soared as the NHS has struggled to cope with rising demand for care…health unions that the NHS’s 400,000 nurses are being stretched to breaking point as a result of having to work more demanding and longer shifts at a time when under-staffing and the increasing complexity of illnesses add to pressures. [1]

Statistics continue to be quite surprising when we consider the amount of Nurses who have suffered as a result of the NHS cuts and mistakes. It was also noted that in ‘London, almost 1,500 nurses at 31 NHS trusts took time off because of stress during 2014…that meant that one in every 29 nurses were off ill with stress. The 1,497 nurses took an average of 38 days off for stress’ [2]. Representatives have argued that it is both doctors and nurses who need time off because of the NHS failing to provide their staff with the 24-hour services.

How heartbreaking it must be for doctors and nurses to walk away from their job to care because they are not being cared for, because they cannot care for their patients properly, and the institution they work for has caused this stress for them.

Furthermore because they are NHS employees, they are costing the NHS more money by not being able to provide their services. This loop around is an never-ending chaotic mess. ‘Over 30% of all NHS sick leave is caused by stress, which is believed to cost the service up to £400m a year in lost productivity and the cost of replacing stressed staff.’ [3]

It is quite clear that once the NHS put some proactive amendments in place, further implications will begin to resolve as a result. But the question still remains, when will that be? And, how do they expect to fix this?

If you are a nurse, or doctor, who has suffered from stress lately, please let us know your thoughts.

[1] Kirk, A. (2015). Nurses at breaking point as number off work with stress soars. The Guardian. Available at:

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

Can Labour Solve The A&E Problems?

It has been announced this week that A&E targets are at their worst for the last ten years. Despite warnings to only go to A&E if you truly need emergency services, and putting targets in place, they have simply not been met by the hospitals in England. With a target of 95%, they have dropped to 92.6%. This has been a progressive issue for the last few months, and one that quite clearly needs to be addressed.

The Labour party has suggested that a co-operative solution be made. However shadow health secretary Andy Burnham had reasons to blame the issue on them.

“You will know that I have repeatedly warned throughout this Parliament that severe cuts to social care could end up dragging down the NHS…This is exactly what is happening now. Increasing numbers of very frail, elderly people are ending up in A&E and then becoming trapped in hospital because the care they need to be discharged is not available. This comes on top of pressures arising from the fact that people are finding it harder to see a GP, and pressures within the NHS from the shortage of nurses and GPs.” [1]

However, labour have made it clear that although targets are important, and met, we must remember the most prominent importance is the patients and their treatment.

However, the problem still stands and labour needs to resolve the issues if there is any improvement to be made to patient treatment. And it is not just England, the whole of the UK are falling behind on their targets, some more than England.

There have been some precautions made, but only due to the severity of the situation. Mr Burnham continued to say that ‘a summit was needed to “assess the situation and put in place a coordinated plan to ensure patient safety and support the performance of A&E departments” to minimize any avoidable further major incidents being declared.’ [2]

But do we believe there is an easy solution to this mess? Please let us know your thoughts.

[1] BBC News, (2015). Labour seeks summit to find A&E ‘fix’. Available at:

[2] Ibid

Does Cancer Have a Price?

Most would say that you cannot put a cost on life, yet, we earn just to live and we pay out to survive. We tend not to question this system of living as it is all we’ve known. However we tend to bring this into consideration when our lives are put in jeopardy through illness.

We have discussed before the affects of cancer, as the illness does continue to take claim to more lives every year. What made us strike up the topic again was a recent news article from the BBC. Labour pledges that more funds will be placed into cancer funds to ensure cancer is the primary disease that is tackled, and the best care is received to patients.

This could indeed be a ploy for the party, however, if they followed through with their promise – patients and families could be looking at a rise in more time and recovery rates.

What we do wish to question is – the amount that needs to be invested still is obscene amounts of money – but of course ones that are worth it. However, is there a price we won’t say no to? To give a patient suffering breast cancer another 6 months, costs £90,000 a course to run.

The money and time spent should be given undoubtedly. And current PM David Cameron, did set up a fund of £200 million, that has been increased to £280m. This fund however is due to run out in 2016, which the labour party wish to replace with their cancer fund.

Mr Burnham (Shadow Health Secretary) made claim that their fund would target all patients in need, instead of a selected few.

“My goal is to make the NHS the best health service in the world for the treatment of cancer. We will only achieve that if we give patients access to the most effective forms of treatment, particularly advanced radiotherapy…The problem with cancer policy under the current government is that it prioritizes one form of cancer treatment over others and places one group of patients ahead of another. This is indefensible when we know surgery and radiotherapy are responsible for nine in ten cases where cancer is cured… 40,000 people every year who could benefit from radiotherapy are missing out.” [1]

However, there has of course been a backlash from the conservative party who pointed out Labour have not always agreed with the Cancer Drugs Fund and therefore may not be able to rely on the promises being made.

But what would excite all of us is the prospect, for we ourselves cannot generate the money needed for particular treatments. Some treatments do not get run purely due to them not being cost-effective for the NHS to run. With more invested, patients will have a better chance at receiving help.
Sarah Woolnough, Cancer Research UK’s executive director of policy, said that our biggest issue with cancer is the lack of ‘commitment to diagnosing more cancers early. Surgery and radiotherapy are more likely to be effective when the disease is diagnosed in the earliest stages…Early diagnosis and access to treatment must be key priorities for a future government if it’s serious about improving the UK’s cancer survival rates.’ [2]

The main question we want to ask is; is there a price you would deny? Those patients missing out, miss out due to treatments not being available to them. Would we pay anything for this to be necessary? Surely.. we would?

[1] Gallagher, J. (2014). Labour pledges cancer therapy fund. BBC News. Available at: [Accessed 9 Dec. 2014].

[2] Ibid

500 GP Closures in 5 Years!

In the past five years, there have been over five hundred GP closures. However, patient need has also double in the same time.

Official statistics has recorded that 518 surgeries have closed in total. Although some surgeries have merged together and partnered up in this time, the closures can still not compensate for the mass amount of patients who will suffer as a result.

Certain areas of the country will have to travel to receive medical attention, rural areas especially will miss out on close medical help. Essentially, there are more patients in need, than can be supplied for.
‘So far this year 78 local clinics have closed but only nine have opened’ [1]. This is conclusive that patients are losing more than they gain.

Primary Care People realize the importance of primary care in the healthcare industry. Therefore, what worries us most about these staggering statistics is; as the NHS continues to struggle with cuts, and emergency rooms are over-filled with patients who have no where to go, closing GP surgeries will not help patients divert from the over-crowded A and E departments.

Although most surgeries are merging together, more practices need to continue to open. We realize, as a medical recruitment team for GP’s and Nurses, surgeries and care centre’s are the future. This is why we dedicate our time to supplying Nurses and GP’s to surgeries and practices that are truly in need.

But does this help our situation now? How are we as a country meant to reach a level of understanding when surgeries are being closed down.

‘About 100 surgeries could be forced to close because of changes to the way the Government allocates money, leaving patients in some rural areas without a doctor, the British Medical Association has warned.’ [2]

Whilst some blame the government, others worry about not being able to see their own family doctor, and will now have to travel further to a new ‘super-surgery’. This is a valid argument to discuss. Dealing with our health is the most important thing in our lives. To rely on a family doctor, is due to the trust patients have developed in their GP’s over the years.

Due to the necessary movement of GP surgeries expanding, this may no longer be possible for some patients.

However, this could also mean that perhaps in the future local GP’s will become more available due to their high demand.

Please let us know your thoughts on the healthcare system. Who do you think is to blame? And, how can it be made better?

[1] Mail Online, (2014). 500 GP surgeries have closed in just five years. Available at: [Accessed 3 Dec. 2014].

[2] Ibid