Majority of GPs back NHS prevention agenda but are struggling to make it a reality
• Simplyhealth research released today at the Conservative Party Conference reveals that the majority of GPs (69%) strongly support the Health Minister’s view that prevention needs to be a top three priority
• Nearly half (47%) of GPs find it difficult to advise patients with preventable illnesses without creating a ‘blame culture’
• More than two-thirds (79%) of GPs think lack of motivation is the biggest challenge for patients
Nearly half (47%) of GPs admit offering advice to patients who have preventable illnesses is difficult without it being seen as ‘nanny state’ or a ‘blame culture’ and destroying any relationship with them.
The figures, released today by Simplyhealth at the Conservative Party Conference – at a panel event held in partnership with the Social Market Foundation think tank - reveal the majority (69%) of GPs strongly support the Health Minister’s view that prevention needs to be a top three priority for the NHS, but 42% of those who support this view think that given how long it takes for the benefits of preventative initiatives to be realised, it requires long term commitment outside the thoughts of one parliament or one health minister.
GPs say lack of motivation is a big challenge for patients (79%) but more than half (53%) believe lack of knowledge and understanding on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle is another barrier. This issue is worse for working class households as additional research released by Simplyhealth reveals more than one million* don’t know where to go for information on leading a healthy lifestyle.
The latest figures show almost half (46%) of GPs spend at least two days a working week treating patients with preventable illnesses, such as obesity. At a time when GPs are under resourced, other options need to be considered in order for people to get the healthcare support they need.
Despite this, only one third (33%) of GPs said they have access to a social prescriber based within the practice. This is someone who can refer patients to community support and activities, such as social groups. Simplyhealth is currently funding a social prescribing coordinator operating across five GP practices in Andover, Hampshire.
GPs do an excellent job and are often the first point of call but a GP appointment isn’t always the answer and we need to raise awareness of the other options available to people to help them manage their health.
Based on the evidence we have seen, we believe that the private sector working alongside employers, the third sector and the NHS itself can play a significant role in helping people get the help they need. This approach would also help alleviate pressure on state-funded services, enabling them to run more efficiently and ensuring people get the health support they need, when they need it.
The research was released during a panel event titled ‘Fit for the future: How can we sustainably support the nation’s health and ensure good outcomes across all services?’ Panellists included Alan Mak MP (Havant) and David Furness, Director of Policy and Delivery, NHS Partners Network.
Simplyhealth and the Social Market Foundation hosted a panel event on Tuesday 2nd October titled ‘Fit for the future: How can we sustainably support the nation’s health and ensure good outcomes across all services?’
Panellist were Alan Mak MP (Havant); David Furness, Director of Policy and Delivery, NHS Partners Network; Nigel Keohane, Research Director, SMF; Laura Donnelly, Health Editor, The Telegraph and Kate Thornton, executive lead on community impact, Simplyhealth.
Source: Research Now SSI, 250 GPs, 13th -17th September 2018
*Source: 10% of C2Des don’t know where they would go for information on changes they could make to their lifestyle to help prevent illness. Deltapoll survey completed on behalf of Simplyhealth of 2,500 adults; nationally representative of UK adults; conducted 14th – 17th September 2018