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Gp Catchment areas to be abolished in England

(14 Posts)
AtheneNoctua Thu 17-Sep-09 08:48:38

Or so the article says.

GP Catchment Areas To Be Ended

I think there is a valid point that the rest of the NHS services are still operating on catchments and that will make this difficult. But, I think it is a step in the right direction. So, perhaps they should abolish other catchment areas as well.

Mybox Thu 17-Sep-09 09:01:52

In other eu countries you can go & see whatever doctor you like - always thought it strange in the uk that you can't just see the doctor you think is best.

AtheneNoctua Thu 17-Sep-09 10:32:44

Yes, I agree. Can you go to any hospital as well?

I actually have a GP in whose catchment I am not. I think I slipped through the cracks at registration. But, it has been difficult at times because the hospital she works with denied me for childbirth because I'mnot in their catchment. They said they were full, which was a bold faced lie because I was 6 weeks pregnant an dI don't believe for a secod that they were full. I ended up at a lovely hospital (not the one in whose catchment I live) so it worked out in the end. But, I do understand that there are issues here to be sorted out if you can suddenly go to a GP but not the hospital the GP works with. I guess maybe GPs will have to work with more hospitals, which is perhaps a workable solution.

mrsbaldwin Thu 17-Sep-09 11:13:33

Yes I listened to all this on the radio this morning with some interest.

It's not the principle which is the problem - it's the practice ... or rather the rest of the system.

I originally signed up at a hospital out of my catchment to have DS. They told me I could do the antenatal appts there and have the baby there, but no midwife visits etc after the birth - they would instead 'share the care' with my GP practice.

So I went to my GP to ask him how this would work in practice. He said he had no idea and had never heard of such a thing. After a bit more investigation (on my part, not on his) it turned out that (if all the paperwork was done properly) I'd go onto the books of the midwives from the hospital in my catchment area that I was doing my best to avoid. The GP made his extreme disinterest in these potential arrangements very clear ... so in the end I changed hospitals (somewhere quite near my house but not the hospital I was originally trying to avoid).

The new hospital was great so all's well that ends well in that respect. But I've subsequently changed GPs.

Anyway, the moral of the story is ... choice is great in principle ... but the rest of the system has to support your choices or it's all a bit meaningless.

So I think I am probably agreeing with you AtheneNoctua.

bradsmissus Thu 17-Sep-09 11:33:48

I can see what they are saying about choice and all that, but this is really diffiuclt for GPs. If a patient requests a house call, how are they to manage if people are miles from the surgery? It can take up to an hour for a doctor to do a home visit, depending on the illness, whether they need to admit the patient etc. If they have to add lots of travelling time to this, thier working day will become unmanageable.

Also, practices have a limit to the number of patients that they can have on their list. If lots of people register from outisde the area, they will be ful, then there is a risk that patients who live close by won't be able to register and this will be problematic for people who are unable to travel further to see a docotr.

I'm all for updating the NHS and there are many changes that would improve general practice, but in my experience, this just won't work.

AtheneNoctua Thu 17-Sep-09 12:00:22

Mrsbaldwin, I didn't have that problem. I went to QC. QC told me my GP could do routine bloodwork and check-ups. I was fine with this (and much prefer to see a doctor to a midwife anyway). So, I did go to the GP for a variety of things. But, obviously, did my booking in and saw consultant at the hospital when I wanted to demand discuss caesarean delivery.

It worked quite well in the end. The hospital that refused me was Kingston (and WEst Middlesex come to think of it). I was very happy with Queen Charlotte. But it did take some faffing around on my part to organise it all.

But, choice is good. No way I was going to horrible St. Peters. I did get what I wanted. And if places like Kingston weren't turning me away on grounds of catchment, the whole thing would have been a lot easier for both me and the GP.

And life would be SOOOOOO much easier if I could pick a GPO near work rather than the one near my house (which isn't the one I go to anyway because the GP near my house is an ARSE)

edam Thu 17-Sep-09 22:58:39

Laurence Buckman (of the BMA) sounded jolly sensible on the news, saying 'fine but what about the practical problems'.

Home visits thing is a bit of a red herring as most people never get one anyway - unless you are terminally ill or elderly with multiple chronic conditions and those people would probably choose one near home anyway.

One aspect - it's hard enough for GPs to keep track of what services are available in their local area, they will have no ruddy idea what is available for a patient who lives somewhere else entirely.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Thu 17-Sep-09 23:02:37


Only so many patients you can register with one GP, surely. It's not going to make it any quicker to get an appointment is it.

paisleyleaf Thu 17-Sep-09 23:06:38

I'd be glad to get back with the GP I'd had for years growing up. He's been a proper family doctor, seeing all the family.
But I had to change when I moved out of catchment.

AtheneNoctua Fri 18-Sep-09 09:04:25

Surely, if a GP practice is full, then they hire another GP, some more admin, and they can take more patient. I don't really know how it works. But, I would think the GP determines their own practice as a small business and they make these choices for themselves. Or is there some NHS bod which restricts this growth?

There are some isues to work out, but surely that is not a reason to not move forward.

edam Fri 18-Sep-09 20:41:39

athena - not if they don't have room for another GP. How many practices have spare consultation rooms?

AtheneNoctua Fri 18-Sep-09 21:40:13

I guess they call in the builders. Thats what our GP did few years ago. Or another GP opens another practice nearby.

wuglet Fri 18-Sep-09 21:49:13

Am sure would be lovely to have a GP near your work - until you are SICK and NOT AT WORK!

Then you will have to trek across town to see the GP you have registered with, expect your own GP to do the same if you think you need a visit, or register temporarily with a local GP and see someone who doesn't know you and possibly does not have access to your records.

Sounds like a pile of wank to me.


alwayslookingforanswers Fri 18-Sep-09 21:52:48

haha - catchment areas - they were long abandoned round here - when we moved to this town 7yrs ago we had to send a form of to the local health authorit who "allocated" us a GP's - as they were already over subscribed.

Very few people in this town live near their GP's - I used to walk past 4 GP's surgeries to get to my one. Since I moved I only walk past 2........

The practical problems of home visits are already in practice here.

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