GPs face unfunded extra work during Olympics

London practices have been told to expect an 'unfunded' 5% rise in workload during the Olympic Games and must assure PCTs they are 'Games ready', NHS London has said.

Olympic healthcare: London practices must decide how to deal with visitors’ health issues (Photograph: Corbis)
Olympic healthcare: London practices must decide how to deal with visitors’ health issues (Photograph: Corbis)

The SHA said practices should deliver ‘business-as-usual performance levels’ during the Olympic and Paralympic Games between 27 July and 9 September.

It expects dem­and to be similar to a ‘mild winter’ with activity for non-elective and urgent care rising by 5% to 10%. ‘Our estimates of the numbers of visitors likely to use general practice services are low – within 5% of normal workload,’ NHS London said.

Former Greenwich LMC chairman Dr Rob Hughes, who discussed this increased demand on services before he stepped down in April, said the extra work would be unfunded.

‘In Greenwich they are calling it "business not as usual",’ he said. ‘There is no funding for this extra work. There are not local enhanced services for it.’

Dr Hughes said Greenwich was expecting a 10% increase in workload for primary care.

‘The main problem will be transport as the roads will be shafted,’ he added. ‘Lots of practices are worried that the staff will not be able to make it in. Locally, most people will have to walk to work.’

'Games ready'
Practices must report to their PCT to declare themselves ‘Games ready’. NHS London provided an assurance checklist asking practices if they have plans for staffing, supply and home visit problems.

The SHA warned GPs that some visitors may attend practices and staff must decide if patients should be treated as temporary residents or ‘whether to provide immediately necessary primary care where clinically possible’.

‘We are asking all NHS organisations to welcome visitors to the Games and provide them with a positive experience of the NHS through appropriate treatment or signposting to the right health service including those visitors who may attend a GP surgery,’ it said.

GPs have been told that information is being sent to ‘all visitors to the Games about how to use the health service’.

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