Study shows that Free Under 6 GP Care led to a Dramatic Increase in GP visits

“The number of children seen free of charge more than doubled to 10,824 during the year after the policy change”.

. The study published in the annals of family medicine by Dr Mike Callaghan and his colleagues (Department of Public Health and primary care, Trinity College Dublin) has found that offering free childhood general practice services led to a dramatic increase in visits. There was a25% increase in daytime and out of hours visits. The article says that the increase has implications for future healthcare service planning and mixed public and private funded systems.

The study focused on an eight daytime general practice services in the local out of hours services – Northdoc and on a detailed study of the patient use of the Northdoc out of hours service –D Doc.

Northdoc offers urgent general practice services out of hours to the population of North Dublin (pop 550 K). The service covers over 140 practices (250 GPs).

The study showed that 9,898 children aged under six made approximately 15,000 visits the general practice out of hour’s service in the period before the policy change, and 11,890 children made 8958 visits in the period after. This difference the case to a 20.1% more children seen at least once and 25.7% more visits in the latter.

The number of children seen free of charge more than doubled to 10,824 during the year after the policy change.

Dr Mel Bates, Medical Director of Northdoc said “I want to congratulate Dr O’Callaghan and his colleagues for this essential piece of work. The Government and the department of health need to look closely at this report. General practice, both in and out of hours simply cannot continue to expand to meet demand without more GPs in the community and proper funding. ”

You can link to the full article here

 

Northdoc gets top audit marks

“D Doc was best out of 15 co-ops in terms leadership and teamwork”
Irish Medical times Report..
Northdoc, which runs the D Doc out-of-hours (OOH) co-op covering the majority of north Dublin city and county, has outperformed other UK and Irish OOH services in a new audit carried out by the Medical Protection Society (MPS).
MPS found that Northdoc Medical Services was the best out of 15 co-ops stress tested in terms leadership and teamwork, and was in the top quartile for other categories such as communications, resources and training.

Dr Mel Bates – Medical Director – Northdoc

It is understood at least three of the 15 OOH services involved in the voluntary risk audits were Irish co-ops.
MPS said Northdoc had shown “exceptional leadership and unique vision” in clinical oversight of the D Doc service, highlighting the co-op’s ‘SAFE’ (Supported, Appraised, Familiar, Excellence) guidelines for GPs introduced last year.
The indemnifier’s report noted that the clinical notes assessment system implemented and managed by Board members Dr Kate McSweeney and Dr Vivienne Wallace appeared to have had a “positive impact on members, as confirmed by GPs we interviewed during our visit”.
MPS also noted that Northdoc was the first company in Ireland to achieve the International Social Enterprise Mark for its commitment and contribution to the homeless and socially deprived population of north Dublin.. read more

 

The GP Podcast talks about delivering Healthcare to those who most need it

Hart’s “Law” that “The availability of good medical care tends to vary inversely with the need for it in the population served”

Hart later paraphrased his argument: “To the extent that healthcare becomes a commodity it becomes distributed just like champagne. That is, rich people gets lots of it. Poor people don’t get any of it.”

Here, Dr Austin O’Carroll discusses what the challenges are today and how they can be addressed by embedding in GP training a module that gives GPs the opportunity to work with those in society who need healthcare most but  because of their poor circumstances, least likely to access good health.