Lichfield’s MP says he fears some GPs may be “taking advantage” of changes introduced during the coronavirus pandemic to avoid offering face to face appointments.

Michael Fabricant made his comments after being contacted by constituents who were frustrated at not being able to see their doctor in person.

The Conservative MP said that he had taken up the issue with the Department of Health.

Michael Fabricant

“I am receiving a very small, but increasing number of constituents writing to me frustrated that they are unable to secure appointments with their GPs for face to face consultations.

“While it is often more convenient for both patients and their GPs to have a consultation by phone saving time for both parties, this is not always appropriate. 

“I have also received complaints from consultants who are being referred patients by GPs who have not properly examined their patients. The consequence is that consultants are seeing the ‘worried well’ which causes knock-on delays for those who really do need treatment.”

“As a Member of Parliament, I cannot instruct individual GPs on how to conduct themselves in their own clinical practice and nor should I. However, I have now taken up this general issue with ministers at the Department of Health making it plain that steps must be taken to enable patients to see their GPs for face to face consultations when this is required.

“I fear that a small minority of GPs in the UK are taking advantage of the changes put in place during the height of the Covid pandemic to maintain distance working when this is not always clinically appropriate.”

Michael Fabricant MP

The issue was also tackled by the Prime Minister during his visit to the United States.

Boris Johnson told reporters that patients should have “the security and confidence that they will be treated in person by a GP who can have proper hands-on understanding of the problem they have got”.

“I know that most GPs are very hard working”

Mr Fabricant said he recognised that doctors were facing a challenging period.

“Of course I know that most GPs are very hard working and are under considerable time pressures.

“Some patients can be diagnosed by GPs using remote diagnostic techniques and often, patients could equally well see qualified pharmacists who are able to prescribe suitable medication.

“This is effective and is widely used on the continent, but this is not always appropriate and having explored other possibilities, patients should have the right to see their GP face to face.

“But having said that, we must also acknowledge the wonderful work undertaken by GPs during this pandemic including playing a major part in the Covid vaccination programme.”

Michael Fabricant MP

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  1. Reports building this week that GPs are facing increasing abuse, threats, and even a few cases of violence. Good old Fab, always happy to stoke up hatred if he gets the chance.

  2. This, from a Member of Parliament who doesn’t (before Covid) have regular, advertised advice surgeries – unlike Lichfield District’s Labour councillors.

  3. What’s your solution, MP?
    Recruit GP’s from abroad like we’ve always done but we used to accept them?
    Or start the run down of the NHS? Privatise it?
    What is your solution, MP?

  4. If he were a decent MP, Fabricant would be pressing his government for more funding for the NHS which is on its knees after 11 years of underfunding, privatisation & the impact of a global pandemic.
    These attacks on GPs are the latest gambit in the Tories’ game plan to undermine what remains of our precious NHS and sell it off.
    Real time health emergencies are happening every day in our city, people are struggling to find decent homes, keep them warm and to feed & clothe their families. Many will be suffering from stress and the impact of long Covid. This in turn is sending people to their GPs in ever increasing numbers.
    This is a public health emergency with real consequences for all of us. And what does our elected member do to help us? He Tweets.

  5. Blaming the GPs is the Tory way. They blame the EU for Brexit’s failings. They blame Covid for their incompetence.
    The problem with Conservatism is that eventually, you run out of people to blame.

  6. lol Mr Fab jumping on another band wagon again ? GP’S were impossible before covid yet alone now it’s perfect for them now just blame covid !!! I wonder why A&E are so busy ? It doesn’t help when the NHS train doctors etc then they leave and go work in Australia at our expense? There should be limits on when they can leave without financial penalties being imposed?

  7. This is an MP who now gets his daily talking points from GB News and plays to the gallery at every opportunity. So he sees some clueless talking head making a point about GPs and jumps on that bandwagon. It will be interesting to see what Lichfield GP and Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (former chair of the Royal College of GPs) Helen Stokes-Lampard makes of these comments – particularly as she has been the subject of some of our MPs photo ops in the past.

    It wasn’t so long ago that the teaching profession was being demonised for apparent failures during the pandemic. That was nothing more than a crude attempt to deflect attention from the very real and damaging failures of the Government and former Education Minister.

    So is this another attempt at deflecting attention away from issues with the NHS and the Government’s handling of health services? Of course it is. Point the finger of blame at a group almost all of us have some interaction with at some point and gather enough momentum with the criticism so that we overlook the Government’s appalling handling of health services during the pandemic.

    We are in a worse position as regards the pandemic as we head towards the winter than we were last year – and we can all remember how that played out. But hey, look at those pesky GPs, they are really the ones to blame.

    It is shameful opportunism from a shameful opportunist.

    But you get what you vote for.

  8. What is your evidence Michael, apart from a couple of constituents who have written to you? Have you contacted the local surgeries to establish whether there are fewer face to face appointments? Have the number of telephone consultations increased the productivity of GPs? Maybe they are working smarter by using technology but patients always want a face to face appointment.
    I don’t suppose you have done any research to justify your comments. Shame on you! Always shooting from the hip.

  9. Lichfield residents fears some MPs could be “taking advantage” of pandemic changes to syphon off hundreds of millions of public money to their friends, family, and donors.

  10. What a hypocrite!!!

    When is he going to start offering Face To Face surgeries again?? He stopped them at the height of COVID, and has never restarted them again.

    Seriously – what does he actually do?? I remember him promising to help Lichfield Litter Legends for a day…..he still hasn’t done it. He misses important votes in parliament too. Is he part time, or something?

    Can we have a full time MP next time, please?

  11. Chris – Whilst denying it.

    “When we last shared evidence of a VIP lane for testing contracts, Government told the world our claims were ‘completely false’.

    Today we can reveal astonishing new emails between civil servants that prove there was a VIP fast track to award testing contracts to firms favoured by ministers. Abingdon Health, the testing firm awarded £85m of contracts without competition, went ‘through the VIP route’.

    And as you can see from this email chain, who was their Ministerial “sponsor”? None other than ‘Lord Bethell’. ”

  12. @Professor Pineapple – quite so. I am hoping that the ship of decency will sail in sooner rather than later. 2024, 2024, 2024, repeat until bored…

    @The Scribbler: “shameful opportunism from a shameful opportunist” – is it ok if we keep this line and use it whenever Fabricantio the Clown sticks his wig into view? It sums the man up perfectly.

  13. Nice one Chris. Instead of pointing the finger at GPS, why not try to make improvements to the NHS, which is falling apart at the seams. No government for the last two or three decades has had a clue what to do. There was a national shortage of seven thousand doctors and thirty thousand nurses before the pandemic. The crisis in the NHS has been building for some time, the pandemic just demonstrated how short of resources it is. Government mismanagement and incompetence has brought this about. What is the saying about people in glass houses….?

  14. If you are happy with the way you see a gp at the moment then that is great. Try get through in morning its a nightmare and then getting fobbed off by the receptionist. The solution here is for the gp’s to go full time most of them are part time 16.5 hours per week. Then put more admin staff on the phones. I personally think the service as gone down since covid.

  15. No-one is denying things are bad, and getting worse belleview. However, to blame GPs for shirking their responsibilities and hiding behind the excuse of Covid is untrue, dangerous, and a deliberate attempt to distract from the real reasons why it is so difficult to see a GP.

  16. Michael With limits of Uni Entry to study medicine & many other options available on graduation than becoming a GP – what is your workable solution to this shortage of GP’s?

  17. There is a national shortage of GPs, and has been for some time. I would be the first to say that some parts of the NHS need a radical overhaul, but the shortage of staff resources makes this difficult. I would also get rid of the Trust system, which has been a farce from the start. We were sold this on the claim that it would increase patient choice and reduce bureaucracy, but it has had the opposite effect on both. Once upon a time we used to have a national health service, but this is no longer the case. Let the health professionals run the show, as the politicians and managers have shown themselves incapable of doing so.

  18. Lichvegas – I cannot share your optimism that the ship of decency will sail into Plague Island anytime soon.
    Instead, we have classic doublethink.
    Only 2 weeks ago the Tories where explaining that the rise in wages is only an anomaly caused by Covid and furlough so they could rip up the triple lock on pensions.
    Now they ignore the anomaly and go on about rising wages as the excuse to cut that £20 from UC.
    According to the Tories taking £20 a week, in taxes, from those earning £50,000 or more will destroy the economy, but cutting £20 a week from UC will save the economy.

  19. When I had the need to go to see a medical person I phoned the surgery this morning and asked to see in person a nurse practitioner and was told that I hadn’t got the right criteria.

  20. It’s not just with GPs, I had call to phone 101 last night. The recorded message told me the wait would be 40 – 50 minutes and I was number 60 in the queue.
    Eleven years of Tory governments defunding the police have led to this. The self -styled party of law and order.

  21. The problem is gp’s are self employed and the government cannot make them do anything-unless they pay a ransom-plus their union the BMA has only one interest in making doctors richer. If a gp’s were charged for sending patients to A&E without seeing them or for calling ambulances for patients they have not examined things might change. No face to face soon will kill more than covid.

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