General Practice concerned about more disruption
1 May 2008
General Practice concerned about impact of further hospital disruption
Community doctors and nurses are concerned the breakdown in talks in the junior doctors dispute will lead to further frustrating delays for thousands of patients.
The Independent Practitioners Association Council (IPAC) – which represents over 800 community practices around the country – is calling on both sides to urgently resume talks in a bid to avoid further disruption to patients.
IPAC says it is worried about the impacts for patients of another round of cancelled hospital operations and treatment.
Over 8,000 patients nationwide had non-urgent operations or outpatient appointments cancelled during the first strike. DHBs are currently making plans for similar cancellations next week.
“The thousands of patients who missed out on hospital treatment in the first strike have been referred back to their local GPs – they will need new appointments and on-going care as they wait for new hospital dates to be scheduled,” IPAC chair Dr Bev O’Keefe says.
Dr O’Keefe says another strike will only compound the problem.
IPAC says many general practices are already under pressure due to a national shortage of practice doctors and nurses.
Dr O’Keefe says community clinics will prioritise appointments and accommodate requests where ever possible but some delays are inevitable.
“In the long run this sort of disruption puts pressure on general practices as well as hospitals and patients unfortunately end up joining another queue for treatment”
Dr O’Keefe says IPAC is not taking sides in the industrial dispute and it is calling on both parties to see commonsense and urgently resume negotiations to avoid further disruption.