Home > Press Releases > Farcical to ask paramedics to take on GP role when can barely do their own jobs such is shortage of staff

Farcical to ask paramedics to take on GP role when can barely do their own jobs such is shortage of staff

Statement from NHA co-leader Dr Clive Peedell

The idea that paramedics will be asked to act as GPs after 4 months of training [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3198761/Paramedics-16-weeks-training-stand-GPs.html] is deeply disturbing and shows how desperate the Department of Health and NHS England have become in tackling the growing NHS crisis. It shows a total lack of planning which is inexcusable considering the fact that a crisis in General Practice was predicted by the 2010 NHS Risk Register.

It also reveals a total lack of understanding of what General Practice is about. It is a specialty in its own right and the knowledge base required to be a GP is enormous. Hence it takes an average of 11years to train as a GP. A significant part of General Practice involves the management of chronic diseases and conditions, which paramedics will have very little experience of.  They would also need a very significant amount of supervision, which could actually create more work for existing GPs.

Moreover, there is already a national shortage of paramedics and a crisis in our ambulance services, with increasing numbers of paramedics quitting their jobs and police sometimes having to cover for them because of a shortage of available ambulances. This latest move will take paramedics away from the emergency frontline where they need to be.  It's farcical to be asking paramedics to take on a GP role when they can barely do their own work such is the shortage of staff.

The real solution lies in urgent investment in General Practice and a recruitment drive to fill the current 600 vacancies in GP training places, with 25% unfilled training posts currently.

This is yet another symptom of chronic under-investment in the NHS, which is only set to worsen with the Government's plan for a further £22bn of efficiency savings by 2020.

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