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Royal college urges hysteria


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Thursday, 6 July 2017

Royal college urges hysteria

The Royal College of General Practitioners would like to apologise for issuing a press release which fails to blame the government for anything.

A release entitled “Spike in summer hay fever cases” points out that hay fever cases have reached their highest level so far this year, but regrettably fails to implicate either the Department of Health or NHS England. There is no mention of GP hay fever “burnout” nor is there any suggestion that decades of underfunding of antihistamines and eye-drops are contributory factors.

To save any embarrassment in the RCGP press office we’ve drafted a corrected version they can rush out. Here it is.

RCGP calls for urgent government action as hay fever crisis brings general practice to its knees

GPs are threatening to walk out, retire early or retrain as beekeepers as practices are overwhelmed by demand from hay fever sufferers.

Numbers of people seeing their GPs with hay fever symptoms are soaring. From December, when there was almost no hay fever, the government has allowed the problem to escalate out of control, to a position in July where demand for consultations is up by 19,000%.

The chair of the RCGP (insert name of current one, if known) said: “This is just the latest failure to recognise the strain on general practice created by rising workload, centuries of underfunding, critical gaps in the workforce, plummeting morale, underinvestment in premises, lack of GPs in training, pressure of constant inspection, needless regulation, the growing burden of bureaucracy and the situation in North Korea.

“The surge in consultations from those with hay fever symptoms – or allergic rhinitis – was entirely predictable. Why did the government not act sooner? Where were the warnings from Public Health England that would have given practices time to prepare?  Where are the resources to treat this tsunami of new patients with streaming eyes and runny noses?”

The RCGP said government claims that so-called pollen from germinating trees and flowers was behind the crisis were merely “shifting the blame”. 

It urged commissioners to deliver the long-delayed hay fever QOF, which would reimburse GPs for case-finding, and to accelerate plans to develop a hay fever pathway for referral of complex and chronic cases into secondary care.

The secretary of state for health, Jeremy Hunt, said the problem would be solved by 1000 new Hay Fever Assistants, but these are not expected to complete training until at least 2022.

A recent RCGP survey of GPs revealed that 55% thought hay fever could spell the end of general practice as we know it, while the rest were planning to move to New Zealand where it is still 1948.

Editor: Julian Patterson

Rebecca Miles
Rebecca Miles says:
Jul 07, 2017 01:05 PM

Fabulous. You make our Friday lunchtime reading truly stitch-worthy.

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Jul 07, 2017 01:33 PM

Thank you. That's nice to hear.