Doctor using a laptop to carry out virtual clinics

Ep 18. Innovation in primary care has never happened so fast

Dr Anshumen Bhagat, Founder and Chief Medical Officer of GPDQ - alongside continuing to be a practicing NHS GP - joined us on episode 18 of NHE’s Finger on the Pulse podcast, talking us through primary care, its challenges over the last 12 months and his visions for its future. We talk difficulties, solutions and ambitions in this insightful episode of the podcast.

GPDQ is an organisation well-placed to be assisting with the NHS’ primary care challenges right now, because each and every one of it’s members experiences those challenges in their own daily working lives.

That is because one of the core values at the heart of GPDQ is that it is run by working NHS staff. Be it a GP, specialist nurse or paramedic, should a healthcare professional move entirely into private practice, then they won’t be found among GPDQ’s roster of staff.

And having that skin in the game, so to speak, is important. As Anshu explains: “We lose about 90-100 GPs a month in this country. We need more coming through.”

So, to be able to provide opportunities to work differently, to work with different teams and provide services perhaps outside of their day-to-day NHS duties, including private practice, all without removing staff from an already waning health service pool is essential.

It is a belief seen in one of GPDQ’s convictions when it does provide private healthcare. In part, due to its staff’s continued involvement in the NHS side of affairs, moving treatment and care to private provision is less about seizing on a commercial opportunity, and far more about the knock-on implications that can have for those who do have to rely on the NHS to provide their care.

“Every patient we see in the private sector is one less patient who needs to be seen in the public sector.”

With the pandemic, that has become truer than ever before. The NHS is facing a significant treatment backlog, to overcome which it will have to work with and rely on services like those which GPDQ provide. And to their credit, these services have innovated significantly in response to the pandemic’s demands too.

Anshu describes how his organisation and colleagues have worked to deliver necessary services, including virtual clinics - including being able to step in at short notice for NHS staff absences (minimising disruption for patients) - through to running home visitations still where necessary using Covid ‘hot’ car systems.

It is a period of substantial change for primary care right now, with the likes of Anshu being able to provide a great insight into it from both sides of the NHS/private debate.

To hear much more from Anshu, listen in to episode 18 of NHE’s Finger on the Pulse podcast…

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As was outlined by Sir Simon Stevens when the NHS announced their green plans back in 2020, 5,700 lives could be saved each year by improved air quality. Even more could see their overall health improve and be in a position to self-manage their conditions, rather than requiring NHS treatment. Covid-19 has already left the NHS with a sizeable treatment backlog, so anything which can be done to improve patient health and reduce demand is beneficial for all.

Working together, we can help the NHS realise its green ambitions as per the Net-Zero National Health Service report and its ambitious 2040 target. Join us on August 25, 2021 for our Net-Zero NHS event, where we will be joined by health sector leaders and innovators for a day of sharing best practice and networking.

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