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Monday, April 22, 2024
HomeHealthThousands sign petition over Harrow GP appointment changes

Thousands sign petition over Harrow GP appointment changes

Residents across several London boroughs, including Harrow, are rallying against a new healthcare system set to be introduced in April, which will significantly alter the way urgent GP appointments are handled.

Under the new system, only patients with ‘complex long-term conditions’ will continue to receive care from their local GP surgeries in Harrow, Brent and Westminster.

Patients will instead be directed to area hubs, where they could be assigned treatment by a ‘care coordinator’ rather than a doctor.

The changes, enforced by the North West London Integrated Care Board (NWL ICB), have sparked widespread concern among both patients and healthcare professionals.

Health bosses say the goal is to make it simpler to get doctor’s appointments. However, they acknowledge that some people might need to travel more than usual to get to these appointments.

Critics argue that the new system compromises patient safety, as care coordinators, who lack medical training, will be responsible for triaging patients.

Additionally, the shift threatens to sever the longstanding relationship between family doctors and their patients, as most will be redirected to impersonal area hubs, claims the petition.

The London Medical Council, representing GPs across the city, has voiced serious reservations about the overhaul, highlighting the lack of consultation with both doctors and the 2.4 million residents affected.

With the implementation date fast approaching, a grassroots campaign has emerged, calling for the NWL ICB to halt the rollout and engage with the community to find a more acceptable solution.

A petition has been launched to unite those opposed to the changes, urging immediate action to preserve the traditional family doctor model.

However, the ICB has stated that same day hubs will include Doctors as well as care-coordinators in ‘supporting roles’.

Dr Genevieve Small, a Harrow GP and medical director, primary care, at NHS North West London told the BBC that this would be “introduced gradually” to “ensure that GPs have more time to proactively care for their patients who most need their expertise, including those with long term conditions”.

“I want to be clear that clinical decisions and referrals will continue to be made by clinical staff,” she added.

For those looking to support the cause or seek further information, the petition can be found here.