UK’s biggest chain of GP practices lets unqualified staff replace doctors

This is what happens when you ask profit-driven Tories to run your country:

The UK’s biggest chain of GP practices lets less qualified staff see patients without adequate supervision, an undercover BBC Panorama investigation has found.

Operose Health is putting patients at risk by prioritising profit, says a senior GP.

The company, with almost 600,000 NHS patients, is owned by US healthcare giant Centene Corporation.

In the interest of fairness: Operose says it is not short-staffed and operates in patients’ best interests. But…

BBC Panorama sent undercover reporter Jacqui Wakefield to work as a receptionist at one of the UK company’s 51 London surgeries… A GP working at the practice said they were short of eight doctors. The practice manager said they hired less qualified medical staff called physician associates (PAs), because they were “cheaper” than GPs.

Panorama gathered evidence that PAs were not being properly supervised at the Operose practice. The PAs told the undercover reporter they saw all sorts of patients, sometimes without any clinical supervision. They said the practice treated them as equivalent to GPs.

One GP, who wished to remain anonymous, said she had witnessed the way PAs had been used where she worked. “They were fantastic colleagues and trained to do certain roles, but not trained to basically do as much work as a GP. They were doing the same job as us, with less experience, less qualifications and earning less money,” she said.

“Doing the same job… earning less money.”

It’s all about money.

Even with the best will in the world, unqualified – or underqualified – staff will not help patients as well as properly-qualified doctors. That is clear.

But it is the logical result of many years of privatisation in the National Health Service.

Labour – to its shame, under Tony Blair – started the process, allowing large businesses to buy up practices in England instead of each practice being run by “partners” providing services to the NHS.

And this is the end of it, it seems – the end of patient care, and the beginning of patient profit.

If you live in England, and you have to put up with this dismantling of a once-great system, I pity you.

Your health has been bargained away to private profit-led corporations for the sake of money. Was it worth it? If you’re health and think so, will you think the same when your health fails.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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