A South Yorkshire GP fears a reduction in services provided by district nurses could be ‘dangerous’ for people with chronic conditions.
Dr Dean Eggitt said he was worried the decision by the NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group to stop district nurses carrying out annual checks on patients with conditions such as asthma or diabetes could be detrimental to patient care.
He said the town’s GPs are contractually obliged to carry out the checks themselves – many of which need to take place at patients’ homes – but due to an increasing number of patients and stretched resources the duty has been undertaken by district nurses for years.
Dr Eggitt said this task will now fall back to GPs, although many will be unable to carry out the checks, which could result in the deterioration of a patient’s condition going ‘unnoticed’.
The GP at Oakwood Surgery, Cantley, said: “This is a very frustrating development. District nurses carrying out these annual checks made sense, as part of their gold standard of care.
“Now this is something GPs in Doncaster are being asked to do. However, because of GPs running out of time and not having the resources to hire new nurses, there are many patients who will have to go without the checks, which could be dangerous. “This is going to be detrimental to patient care.”
A CCG spokesman said: “We have been working with GPs and the community nursing service to ensure patients in Doncaster are cared for in a co-ordinated way.
“If a patient is receiving care from the team, an annual check will be carried out and this information shared with their GP practice so the practice can claim a fee.
“If a patient is not known to the team, the GP practice is contracted to undertake the annual check as the patient’s lead care co-ordinator.”