Doctor says he's having to work for free because he's not getting enough funds from NHS (From Southend Standard)
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Doctor says he's having to work for free because he's not getting enough funds from NHS
4:00pm Friday 27th December 2013 in Echo News
A GP claims he is having to work for free because he is not getting enough funding from the NHS.
Dr Sankar Bhattacharjee, 63, who runs Westborough Road Health Centre, in Westcliff, spoke out after he was rapped for failings by the Care Quality Commission, which is now responsible for inspecting family doctors across the country.
The surgery was tested by the commission in five areas and failed three of them, including infection control.
However, Dr Bhattacharjee claims funding from NHS England is now so bad he can no longer pay himself a wage and the lack of funds is responsible for some of the shortcomings.
He said: “Clinically, we came out well, but it was mainly around clinical support and training, because we no longer have the practice manager.
“Because a quarter of my patients are young, I do not get the funding needed.
“I get about £18,400 a month to cover everything, including staff wages, council tax and business rates.
“It has got so bad this year I am working for free at the moment.
“I do not do it for the money, but because I go home in the evening feeling happy because of the service. But if there was someone to take over, I would go tomorrow.”
The practice was found to have put patients at risk of infection because it did not have any spillage kits to clean up blood or bodily fluids, even though minor surgery is carried out there.
Staff there were also not fully trained in infection control.
The surgery was also found not to be investigating incidents or monitoring itself properly since the practice manager left earlier in the year.
The commission report said: “We found practice policies were out of date and some had not been reviewed in more than three years.
“There had been a general slip in completing much of the practice’s administration since the practice manager had left.”
It was found to be meeting standards in two other areas, including people being treated safely and with respect and dignity.
The practice has 3,800 patients, with another locum GP, practice nurse and health care assistant.
Dr Bhattacharjee told inspectors he is underfunded by the NHS, given the size of his patient list and this was the main reason for any problems.
He told the Echo the improvements needed were minor and would be completed next month.
Dr Maureen Baker, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, said: “GPs carry out 90 per cent of all NHS patient contacts, yet a funding black hole worth £9billion has emerged for general practice in England over the past eight years as a result of investment being shifted towards hospitals.”
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