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MPractice Risk podcasts now online Physician

MDDUS Risk Management is pleased to announce the launch of a new Risk Bites podcast series. The first two episodes are now available on the MDDUS

website and accessible to all web users on the Podcasts page, in the Risk Management eLearning centre (www. The podcasts focus on a fictitious 51-year-old patient,

Mrs Roberts, who is diagnosed with breast cancer by her GP. MDDUS advisers consider the scenario in two very different practice settings. Both practices see the same clinical outcome but the series explores how they are able to respond differently to the case as it progresses from an adverse incident, to an NHS complaint, a claim of negligence and lastly a referral to the General Medical Council. You can follow the discussion by

downloading the patient’s medical records to see the different clinical notes recorded at both practices. The podcasts explore and discuss a wide range of key risk areas for general practice.

associates offer

valuable asset PHYSICIAN associates (PAs) provide a same-day consultation service comparable to GPs and at a lower cost, according to a new study published in the British Journal of General Practice. Researchers from Kingston

University and St George’s University of London made a comparative observational study of 2,086 patient records detailing same-day appointments in 12 general practices, comparing PA consultations with those of GPs. After adjusting for case-mix, there was little difference between PA and GP consultations in the rate of investigations, referral to secondary care, prescriptions issued or the rate of patient re-consultation for the same or a closely related problem within 14 days. Both PA and GP consultations scored high levels of patient satisfaction, with the average


PA consultation longer and cost per consultation lower. Physician associates (known as

physician assistants in the US) are not doctors but have been educated and trained to diagnose, treat, and refer autonomously within certain boundaries. Physician assistants have been practising in the US for the past 50 years but the role is relatively new in the UK, with training courses producing the first graduates in 2009. Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, Honorary

Treasurer of the RCGP, commented: “GPs are highly trained medical doctors, and our skills at being able to diagnose and treat the ‘whole person’ through initial consultation and the unique relationship we build up with our patients over time cannot be substituted. “But there are many tasks that take up a huge amount of GPs’ time that PAs can do, thus enabling family doctors to spend more time with patients with multiple and complex needs, for whom the standard 10-minute consultation is not enough.”

Receptionists managing access

to clinicians AN interactive risk exercise focusing on the receptionist’s role in managing patient access to clinicians is now available on the MDDUS website. It’s designed for practice managers and GPs to use with reception and admin

teams and includes a case study, with associated group discussion points. The aim is to enable teams to explore the risks associated with the receptionist role in managing access to clinicians. A discussion guide is included which also provides advice on common risk areas. Download the Access to clinicians exercise in the Risk Management section at (or go to

Report finds significant non-adherence to

prescribed medicines An estimated 30 to 50 per cent of patients don’t take medicines as prescribed, according to a new report. Failure to adhere to prescriptions can render

treatments ineffective and can cause serious harm in some cases. Wasted medicines are also thought to cost the NHS in England around £300 million a year, in addition to the knock-on costs of avoidable illness, further treatment and hospital admissions. The figures were published in a summary of a meeting

held by the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine. Meeting chair Sir Alasdair Breckenridge said: “The

fact that only one third to one half of patients take their medicines as prescribed should be a major wake up call to the healthcare profession. We need to determine why this is the case and develop better ways to help people take the medicines they are offered.” The report called for a co-ordinated response from both healthcare professionals and patients.

WWW.MDDUS.COM Fit for Work roll-out

PRACTICES are reminded to update their sickness absence policies to reflect the new Fit for Work scheme currently being rolled out across the country. The government is in the process of a phased launch of

the new system which is expected to be fully operational from May. The purpose is to provide occupational health assessments and general advice to employees, employers and GPs, with the aim of helping individuals stay in or return to work. There are two elements to the service: • Assessment – once the employee has reached, or is expected to reach, four weeks of sickness absence they will normally be referred by their GP for an assess- ment by an occupational health professional, who will look at issues preventing the employee from returning to work.

• Advice – employers, employees and GPs will be able to access advice related to the scheme by phone or via the website. Following an assessment, employees will receive a return-to-

work plan and information on how to get appropriate help and advice. Details of the scheme can be found at www.fitforwork. org (England and Wales) or (Scotland).


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