NHS is like a overflowing reservoir with blocked up streams going in and out, says Sidmouth doctor

Dr Mike Slot

Dr Mike Slot - Credit: Archant

The NHS is like a reservoir – you can either build the walls higher and wait for it to overflow later, or look at the streams going in and out, according to a Sidmouth doctor.

This week Dr Mike Slot, from the Sid Valley Practice, spoke to the Herald about why the Devon GP Service was rated as one of the best in the country.

According to statistics released by Health Watch Dog Devon, the county’s GP service is rated as being in the top 20 per cent in the UK.

There are 89 GP surgeries in Devon, 21 are rated ‘outstanding’ and 68 are ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission.

Despite this, Devon’s GP service is still facing many challenges.

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Dr Slot said GPs and A&E were both first response services that people went to before they saw any other professional.

However, 90 per cent of patients’ first contacts took place at GPs.

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But at the moment, 92 per cent of all NHS funding goes to secondary care, like hospitals, and just eight per cent goes to general practice.

Dr Slot said: “The main challenge we face is the increase in demand.

“If you look across the country at what is happening, you can see A&E is bulging at the seams.

“If you picture a reservoir and the level of water is rising, you can either build the walls higher and then things will overflow later or you can look at the streams going in and out.

“If you see acute hospitals and A&E overflowing you can either buy more acute hospital beds or increase resources in A&E, which will be very expensive, or you can look at why patients go in the first place and what makes it difficult for them to leave.”

Dr Slot said there were two big things that could be done to help overflowing hospitals.

The first would be to put more money into the care services, so patients could be quickly set up with a carer plan.

This would prevent them being admitted to hospital unnecessarily when they were temporarily unable to manage without help, for instance, because of an infection.

“It would mean patients can be discharged and could go home as soon as their medical treatment is complete, reducing the length of their stay in the hospital,” he said.

Dr Slot said the second was to put more money and resources into primary care – including practice nurses, GPs, pharmacists and community mental health workers, allowing them the time and resource to care for more people at home.

He said that if NHS funding was increased by one per cent and it was all given to primary care it see a 12 per cent rise in GP funding.

“In my view this will help to reduce the pressure on hospital services and would in the end be cost effective,” Dr Slot said.

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