THE town’s top doc Andy Davies headed to the Warrington Guardian office last week for a live question and answer session with readers.
The chairman of Warrington CCG discussed the privatisation of the NHS, charging patients and Skyping among other things.
Here are the top six things we learnt during his visit: 1. An ageing demographic in Warrington is a ‘challenge’.
Marjorie Jones, from Lymm, asked how the CCG planned to care for a growing elderly population in Warrington.
Dr Davies replied saying a lot of work and discussion with clinicians and the public has been centred around that question.
He added: “We have a dedicated work stream to work on provision of care for elderly people with long term conditions and the frail elderly.
“It is also a big part of the work we do in redesigning primary care as part of Prime Minister's challenge fund work this year.
“We regularly involve older person's engagement group (OPEG) or representatives in our discussions.”
2. Video consultations do have a role in future healthcare.
In response to Great Sankey man Tom Ferguson’s question over whether residents will be able to Skype doctors soon, Dr Davies said there were benefits from being able to see and speak to somebody.
He added: “There are also some visual cues you get as a doctor that are important.
“In terms of general future of health care, we need to get better at service offers for different patient groups with different needs eg. minor illness clinics which usually work well with nurse clinicians, complex case management clinics with more varied input from nurses and doctors alongside the standard GP appointments.”
3. The biggest problem doctors in the town face is ‘burnout and fatigue’.
Following a question from Jan Unsworth in Orford, Dr Davies explained the town’s GPs were still working with a system developed in the 1930s to 40s and yet the volume of work has gone ‘up and up’.
He added: “Complexity has also gone up and you need more time to think through options than we did 20 years ago because you have got more options.
“Workload has gone up 62 per cent and there are roughly the same number of GPs.
“It also takes a cultural change from people and their expectations as 30 to 40 per cent of problems patients bring to GPs could have been managed by other healthcare professionals like pharmacists or self-care.
“Get that bit right and you have probably got enough GPs.”
4. ‘Direct charging of patients would be against the principles of the NHS’.
Jeanette Ball, from Appleton, asked ‘Do you think patients should ever be charged?’ Dr Davies replied: “I think it's right to look at appropriate use of healthcare services but it's difficult to think of penalising people for conditions arising from life choices which may not fit with our own personal values.
“It’s quite right and proper clinicians see and treat people with health needs irrespective of why those needs have arisen.”
5. Andy’s view on the privatisation of the NHS He said: “There is a lot to learn from the private sector and my views are in no way that private companies are bad but I do have an issue with companies who have shares that will raise dividend profit for shareholders that takes money out of the NHS.
“The NHS has tough financial targets to meet and I'm not convinced it will be able to do so with the small losses to shareholder dividends that will come from increasing privatisation.”
6. #AskAndy is a much more common hashtag than you would think.
Tennis fans looking to ask Andy Murray a question inadvertently joined in with our Q&A session with one tweeter hoping to quiz him over his favourite Kardashian sister.