Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Is There A Doctor In The House? Be Very Afraid!!

Standing In For Your GP This Weekend?

"The death of David Gray following treatment by 'flying doctor' Daniel Ubani has led to questions over the reliance on a foreign legion of doctors who travel in from Europe to provide emergency provision.

The influx of foreign doctors covering out-of-hours care can be traced back directly to the Government's flawed reforms of GP contracts.

They were intended to improve cover and prevent exhausted GPs working around the clock.

Evening and weekend emergency cover passed from GPs to primary care trusts when Labour set a new pay regime in 2004.

Doctors were able to give up working anti-social hours while at the same time their average salary rose to well over £100,000.

Primary care trusts then contracted out their out-of-hours provision to a combination of private firms and doctors' co-operatives.

But fewer home-grown GPs were willing to take on the anti-social shifts.

As a result, some of the private providers turned to foreign doctors to fill the gap and dozens now fly into Britain to provide emergency care at night and over weekends.

General Medical Council rules state that foreign doctors need to have basic GP training, but recent experience is not always necessary. This means that some of those employed have qualifications which are decades old.

The most recent available figures suggest that one in ten primary care trusts uses flying doctors.

Last year a freedom-of-information inquiry revealed that some 119 overseas GPs covered out-of-hours shifts in England and Wales in 2007.

Trusts spent more than £1million between 2006 and 2007 on GPs from all over Europe, including Germany, Poland and Lithuania.

Doctors can command up to £150 an hour for the lucrative work, earning £1,000 a day over weekends and Bank Holidays.

In addition, those firms contracted to handle out-of-hours care for primary care trusts have cashed in.

Ubani worked for Suffolk Doctors On Call, part of a larger group called Take Care Now Ltd. It offers out-of-hours care in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Essex, Suffolk and Worcestershire.

Turnover at the company has soared in recent years, from £5.7million in 2005-2006 to £12.2 million in 2007-2008.

In all, 12,977 foreign doctors are registered to work in the UK as a GP. Once accepted on to the General Medical Council register, they can apply to be on the PCT Performer List which entitles them to practise anywhere in the UK.

The chairman of the Family Doctor Association, Michael Taylor, said: 'I have had concerns for some time. It seems paradoxical that here doctors are almost policed - there are so many bureaucratic checks. Yet any old doctor from Europe can fly over at night for an emergency.

'GP practice is incredibly different in Germany or Poland than it is here and there can be considerable language difficulties between the GP and patient which could put them at risk.

'There are bound to be worries about quality of their work.' "

From The Daily Mail.

I wonder if any of the team who drafted and implemented the new NHS arrangements are likely to resign over this?

The Penguin


subrosa said...

This is a disgrace Penguin. It's bad enough having hospital doctors you can't understand but this ferrying in locums has got to stop. Think it's about time we hit the BMA about this don't you? Mind you, they'll just say there aren't enough GPs to do it and that's because the GPs only work around 40 hours a week with no unsocial hours.

It's not the first time serious mistakes have been made with straight forward procedures.

Sue said...

The NHS need at least to be certain that these Doctors are qualified to the same standard as British Doctors and that they are fully fluent in English. Agencies are notorious for not checking credentials properly and when you are dealing with people's lives, it's crucial!

Sue said...

It seems this doctor has killed 3 people now.

Third Patient Dead