Tuesday, February 02, 2010

British GPs 'visit just one in 50 sick patients out of hours' in some areas

Major variations in the quality of out of hours care across the country mean that in the best areas one in four patients will receive a home visit if they call for a doctor at night or over weekends. But elsewhere the proportion is much lower, according to the report by the Primary Care Foundation.

The study, which compares the quality of health services provided by all of England's Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), has disclosed “gaping holes” in the out-of-hours provision. It shows huge variations in the quality of care across the country, although none of the trusts is named. The number of patients receiving home visits varied from 25 per cent in one PCT to 2 per cent in another, the report said. Meanwhile, the number of patients given only a telephone diagnosis also varied between 20 and 70 per cent.

The study also shows that many PCTs are failing to respond quickly enough to urgent calls. Government targets say a GP should visit, or at least telephone within 20 minutes, all patients whose cases are designated urgent. But just two PCTs met this target out of 84 surveyed. The worst achieved the target in only a third of cases. The study also showed large variations in the amount spent on out-of-hours services between PCTs, which ranged from £16 and £3 per person.

An investigation by the Daily Telegraph disclosed yesterday that in the worst areas, there is just one GP covering as many as 650,000 people. Just four GPs are on duty overnight for the 1.1m people living in east, north and west Hertfordshire, while 11 doctors are available to a similar number of people living in east, north and south Birmingham and south Staffordshire.

Katherine Murphy, director of the Patients' Association, called gaps in out of hours provision “scandalous.” "It is such a vital service because it can be very frightening for somebody to get ill in the night, knowing that there's nobody at their doctor's surgery,” she said. "We know from our helpline that this is a national problem. The situation is appalling and it needs to be resolved.”


Virginia Senate votes to nullify Obamacare mandate

If enough States get this through, it would destroy the funding for Obamacare -- because Obamacare needs mandated payments to get the money to pay its costs

The Virginia State Senate voted today 23-17 to add a provision to the Virginia State Code that would exempt Virginians from being forced by the federal government to participate in any health care plan. Furthermore, the provision exempts Virginians from having to pay a fine or fee for not participating.

The text of the legislation sponsored by Jill Holtzman Vogel reads as follows:

No resident of this Commonwealth, regardless of whether he has or is eligible for health insurance coverage under any policy or program provided by or through his employer, or a plan sponsored by the Commonwealth or the federal government, shall be required to obtain or maintain a policy of individual insurance coverage. No provision of this title shall render a resident of this Commonwealth liable for any penalty, assessment, fee, or fine as a result of his failure to procure or obtain health insurance coverage.

This is a big win for Virginians, the 10th Amendment, and liberty. The fight is not over though. I highlight the word “individual” above because it worries me. Does this mean the federal government can mandate family coverage?

Hopefully this ambiguity will be remedied as the bill moves further along in the legislative process.


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