Lancashire GP staff quitting over abuse, health board told

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Dr Lindsey Dickinson said the wellbeing of staff was a "significant concern at the moment"

GP staff are facing ongoing abuse from patients causing some to quit their jobs, a health board has heard.

Dr Lindsey Dickinson told the Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System board that staff's wellbeing was a "significant concern".

She warned "things are going to get worse" as demand grows during winter.

It comes as the latest data reveals the turnover of GP reception staff has increased at surgeries across Preston, Chorley and South Ribble.

Dr Dickinson, chair of the Chorley and South Ribble Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said there was an existing backdrop of "ongoing abuse" that many were experiencing.

She said: "I think the mental health and wellbeing of our staff is a significant concern at the moment. 

"We are seeing more and more staff turnover across practices - certainly that has been a feature in Central Lancashire over the last few weeks." 

'Incredibly frustrating'

During the meeting, members heard that abuse had been linked to patients having difficulty getting appointments and getting through to practices on the phone.

But the latest figures show the overall number of appointments being provided has risen by 20% compared to pre-pandemic levels.

More than 884,000 face-to-face, telephone and online consultations had been offered across Lancashire and South Cumbria during September this year, up from 734,000 in the same month in 2019, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

In-person appointments accounted for 62% of those consultations, it revealed.

The meeting heard that patient surveys showed that 83% of respondents were happy with the service provided by their GP practice in Lancashire and South Cumbria.

However, Dr Peter Gregory, chair of West Lancashire CCG, acknowledged that there was "some variation in what is provided - and that must be incredibly frustrating for our patients". 

He added that if primary care was regarded as "the front door of the healthcare system" then it "isn't big enough for the number of people knocking".

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