News | Health Doctors opt for part-time roles

MORE than half of general practitioners (GPs) employed across 200 surgeries in Kent are working part-time, writes Ciaran Duggan.

A total of 1,308 GPs are currently registered in the 13 districts, but only 47% are full-time staff, ac- cording to the latest NHS data. GP Dr Simon Dunn said more

trainees are seeking a “portfolio ca- reer” and have taken more interest in other health fields such as medicine, outside their surgery work. Last month, Dr Dunn told a vir-

tual panel of primary care health officials who sit on the Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG): “The GP who is there seven days a week and 365 days a year has long gone.” GPs are often the first point of contact for anyone with a physical or mental health problem. They treat all common medical condi- tions and refer patients to hospi- tals.

CCG’s governing body, said: “The problem seems to be that we have more GPs who are working part- time, and that doesn’t look like an ageing phenomenon. “It seems a pity if increased re- cruitment is being entirely wasted by people deciding not to work full-time.” In response, Herne Bay GP Dr

However, there has been a downturn in registered full-time Kent GP staff over the last three years. A CCG report says that only 25%

of the total workforce of about 1,000 Kent GPs in September 2017 were employed part-time, com-

pared to 47% now. But it has emerged that the total number of county GPs, which in- cludes full-time and part-time staff, has risen by 300 over the last 40 months, which has been described as a “healthy increase”. Dr Mike Beckett, who sits on the

Dunn described the situation as “complex”, and said efforts were being made to attract more health staff. For instance, more training schemes have been rolled out this year.

About 108 university students

have embarked on a six-week placement course at GP surgeries through Canterbury’s Kent and Medway School, which opened in September to address the “chronic shortage” of GPs in the region.

Call to take Hospice campaign will get you fit more notice

of patients

A REPORT before the Kent and Medway CCG highlights the need for it to be more aware of patient experiences and ac- knowledges currently there is no effective framework. It states: “At times, there has

been a reactive approach to con- cerns.”

Reporting should include “soft intelligence” at a local level to sit alongside available data. The intelligence would inform

teams of variabilities around pa- tient experiences and also about accessibility, utilisation of out- of-hours services and patient feedback. The report sees a need to in- corporate information about GP patient surveys, friends-and- family surveys, complaints and views of Patient Participation Groups and Healthwatch. CCG governing body mem-

bers considered comments that there was a need to ensure en- gagement with younger people and those of working age. They also heard of the key im- portance of accessibility to a GP and effort expanded to reach that point (for example, numerous phone calls).


HEART of Kent Hospice has launched a new fitness challenge for the new year. Jan-U-Fit aims to motivate peo-

ple to keep their new year’s resolu- tions to stay healthy in 2021. To be a 2021 Jan-U-Fitter you

simply need to set your goal, by sharing the distance and the activ- ity you plan to do to achieve it. For every fitness goal you reach,

£50 of sponsorship will be donated to the hospice, whose chief execu- tive is Sarah Pugh, pictured. This year marks the hospice’s

30th anniversary, which will be cel- ebrated throughout the year. Emma Greenwood, community

fundraiser for Heart of Kent Hos- pice said: “Pledging your support to us and supporting a local cause, will give you a clear goal to work to- wards as you start your health kick. “The added motivation will help

More staff for GP surgeries

THE staffing tide for GP practices across Maidstone and rest of Kent seems to be improving, according to budget-holding Kent and Med- way NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). It reports positive changes for the seven months up to September ,

with a slowing down in the number of GPs leaving. An additional 15 full-time equivalents (as opposed to head counts) were appointed,compared with losses in the GP workforce in 2018 and 2019. There was also an increase of 30 full-time equivalent practice nurses and 34 advanced nurse practitioners. On top of that, there were 115 additional roles providing direct pa-

tient contact to support general practice, including paramedics, phar- macists, social prescribers, health care assistants and physiotherapists. The CCG says the training hub is working to increase roles sup- porting GP workload, such as advanced clinical practitioners, with places allocated to areas of greatest need.

you avoid the all-too-common strong start followed by a drop in commitment. “Your personal fitness goal will be

even more of a success having raised money to support those that need the care of the Hospice in your local community. So, take the plunge and stick to your 2021 health resolution by signing up to Jan-U-Fit.” Once you pick your sport and de-

termine your distance, sign up for free at us/events/jan-u-fit/ or contact the Hospice fundraising team by calling 01622 790195 or emailing

Medical tenant

A LARGE building on the Kent Medical Campus in Maidstone has signed up its first tenant. The “innovation centre” will be

the home to a health strategy con- sultancy specialising in data-led projects. The new building, majority funded by European development money, will have space for small- and medium-sized enterprises. The centre will be neighbour to a

new stepdown recovery facility, KIMS Hospital, two schools and a mental hospital which treats crim- inals.

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