Recently, the headlines were busy with news stories surrounding findings from Pulse, which revealed that GP shortages were leaving some out of hours services with no doctors.
The analysis found that an out-of-hours service in west Wales had no GP cover 125 times during 2018, rising from 57 in 2017. It also found that there were six regions in total - including three in Wales - that operated without GPs on shift in 2018. Dr Alan Woodall, chair of GP Survival and a GP in Montgomery, said staffing problems and lower rates of pay were leading to shifts with no GPs.
Out of hours providers are increasingly looking at how other staff can fill the gaps left by GPs, with many turning to paramedics or specialist nurses.
But rather than trying to fill the gaps with non-GPs, is this rather a case of offering a more flexible way of working out of hours to existing GPs?
Dr Taz Aldawoud, CEO of Doc Abode, said “This is one of the key reasons I created Doc Abode - to provide GPs and other clinicians who want to support the urgent care system with a more flexible way of working, leading to an increased workforce capacity and ultimately improving care for NHS patients.”
In addition to improving care for NHS patients, a flexible way of working can also have other benefits for healthcare workers, such as a better home and working life balance and the ability to fulfil other commitments outside of work – elements which are becoming increasingly important for mental wellbeing.
Doc Abode matches the skills, interests and qualifications of clinicians with the needs of NHS patients, enabling clinicians to pick up Doc Abode visits specific to their requirements in a flexible manner with no obligation to undertake work and without the need to sign up to long shifts.
The impact of mobilising GPs who haven’t previously worked out of hours creates an increase in the total available workforce for NHS providers, which can also be widened beyond GPs to a more multi-disciplinary workforce, such as community or palliative care nurses.
This is already proving to be a popular way of working, with Doc Abode currently live across the whole of West Yorkshire’s 2.2m population, in partnership with Local Care Direct and set to expand to other areas of the country very soon.
Doc Abode is a real-time clinician deployment platform that safely connects a multi-disciplinary clinical workforce to NHS patient needs based on availability, proximity and expertise. Learn more about Doc Abode or contact us here.