An NHS Trust is having to pay GPs to use its new cost-cutting Telehealth project - which sticks sensors in patients' homes to monitor their life signs. GPs in the North Yorkshire and York area have been slow to take up the new cost-saving technology, so the Primary Care Trust has resorted to paying them to use the gadgets. GPs …
GPs always expect to get paid
How is this news? Anyone who's had any experience of working in NHS primary care knows that GPs are extremely commercially minded - every time they are asked to do something different (outside their contract), they expect to get paid extra.
And GPs also tend to employ practice managers to ensure that they are aware of all the "payment opportunities" and that all the necessary boxes get ticked .... that's why the "bonus" payouts from the revised GP contract were so "unexpectedly" high. So I can predict that home monitoring devices may be about to become very popular North Yorkshire.
" every time they are asked to do something different (outside their contract), they expect to get paid extra."
Yea. they should totally work for free, cheeky bastards expecting to be paid for doing a job on top of a hard days work.
If I do anything outside of my contract I expect to be paid extra for it.
... also for stuff that's IN their contract
A recent experience with GPs in my area was that they were generally not meeting their contractual obligations in maintaining practice lists of patients with long-term conditions. So it was made a 'local enhanced service' to allow them to be paid for doing something they were already being paid for.
If I don't do what's in my contract I get money taken away ... but I'm not a GP.
A good start, but it sounds a bit behind the times
A lot of what is mentioned in the examples on the site seems to be generic stuff, that a local standard machine could check for being within limits without any need for dial-up / internet connection. So although it's good they're doing it, it seems a pity that it's only just starting, and that it's "tethered". You could probably do a lot of that in a shield that attaches to a palmtop/phone, so the patient can carry it with them and feel more confident about getting their mobility back.
The savings are fairly accurate, if on the optimistic side. The cost of installing drops dramatically if you've got a technitian installing 3-5 a day instead of 1 as now. The call center that monitors and sends alerts will become more efficient as they get more people hooked up.
Mainly though the saving figure is based on the reduction of hospital admissions/major surgery, so if a patient has a 1/100 chance to need major surgery costing tens of thousands of pounds without telehealth the savings start shooting up when you have patients numbering in the thousands.
/worked on this
Maybe it's not because GP's are crap...
Perhaps GPs oppose it because they realise that iGimmicks aren't what keep people out of hospital.
At least not until they can get people out of bed, give them their medicines, wipe a**es and share a cup of tea with them.
Also - just like in hospitals - each gizmo will raise false alarms, run flat, fall off the patient etc n times per day. Only instead of the nurse walking ten feet down a ward to switch the thing off - he has to drive out to the patient's house.
Still - offering glitzy high tech but futile NHS services gives great press releases to politicians. Plus we'll need to appoint more NHS admindroids to support them and pay management consultancies to roll them out. So trebles all round eh?
...so if a doctor is expected to visit someone house and install some equipment, they should do it for free?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but if I was suddenly asked to do something that extra to my duties outside of what I'm expected to do, I'd expect to be paid for it.
Depends on how competent they are
If GPs in W Yorkshire are anything like my neck of the woods, then sensors or no sensors, the patients are still fscked. I've had GPs deny I have XYZ, only to be told later I have XYZ and ZXY, which could have been prevented if I had gotten XYZ treated sooner.
I've had GPs try to prescribe drugs I'm allergic to and claim that I couldn't be allergic to that, drugs I'm told I should never take for other reasons, where the GP has suggested taking a couple to "see what happens" ?!?!?!
I've also had specialists decide that my only competent GP spends too much time on google as they don't want to spend money on tests, later done after I filed a formal complaint, which usually becomes operation whitewash with "Dr X has been off for weeks due to emotional distress caused by your complaint" etc.
Frankly they should all have been salaried from the start of the NHS, with anyone refusing to play ball having their licence to practice revoked and all medical students being contracted to the NHS as part of their degree or become liable to pay international rates for the whole course.
What has actually happened is that the PCT has ordered too many of these pieces of equipment, and are now trying desperately to justify their use. Don't forget that the most ill patients will already have them, so the benefits from extending the program will get progressively less. I understand a lot of the GPs in North Yorkshire and York are not planning on taking this on, despite the payments - because they think it will generate more work with little benefit for the patients.
a nothing story
As mentioned above your GP Practices are private contractors and as such any work not within the PMS / nGMS contract does provide the opportunity to earn extra income from it. But also when a new system or major change comes in such as telehealth then it does cost money and staff and time to train GP staff, the write the protocols, to integrate it into how each practice works. An Enhanced service with payments for something like this is perfectly normal and routine - you wouldn't ask the local cable pulling monkeys you have contracted to change a tap or make lunch would you?