Eastbourne GP’s fears for future after pandemic

A GP working in Eastbourne has featured in a report which looks at the professional and personal impact of the pandemic on healthcare workers.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 10:27 am

Doctor Greg Folwell is in the report by MDDUS, a non-profit organisation providing professional support and legal advice to more than 50,000 doctors and dentists.

The report looks at ‘a year like no other’ through the eyes of its members and found there was an increase across the professions seeking support and advice.

According to the report, requests for advice from dentists rose by 83 per cent, time spent delivering medical legal advice to doctors increased by 29 per cent and membership numbers increased by 2.6 per cent.

Dr Greg Folwell GP and Dr Sanjay Rajendra GP, who practise in Eastbourne, Sussex. Photographed at nearby Beachy Head for MDDUS Annual Report. SUS-210607-090919001
Dr Greg Folwell GP and Dr Sanjay Rajendra GP, who practise in Eastbourne, Sussex. Photographed at nearby Beachy Head for MDDUS Annual Report. SUS-210607-090919001

Dr Folwell said, “General Practice was under-resourced before the pandemic, and we could only just meet the demand placed upon us prior to it hitting. It is therefore with trepidation that we GPs face the future as lockdown ends, because demand on our services is projected to be greater than pre-pandemic levels, due to the catch-up required by patients who refrained from consulting us during the pandemic, and we are insufficiently resourced to meet any increase in demand.

“It remains very uncertain what the short, medium and long term future holds for GPs.”

Dr John Holden, the chief medical officer at MDDUS, said, “The entire team at MDDUS has witnessed the toll the pandemic has taken on our clinical colleagues. They became aware very early on in the pandemic that doctors were experiencing significant stresses and unparalleled exposure to trauma on the front line.

“Calls to our advice lines early in the pandemic underlined that the fear of the unknown was immense.

“We also gained insight into the concerns our members had about the systemic impact of Covid-19 in their own practice. Some of the members we supported were worried that patient complaints, which arose from systems beyond their control, would disillusion their own staff, many of whom were already exhausted.

“Concern about wellbeing is a theme that will not diminish unless our members are given the time, training and support to recover from the impact of the pandemic.”

Mr Stephen Henderson, head of dental division at MDDUS, said, “Dental practice across the UK faced an existential threat to its future at the start of the pandemic. The financial impact of closing practices was exacerbated by concerns of the supply and then the safety of PPE.

“It is no exaggeration to say that 2020 placed the biggest challenge of their careers on the UK’s dental profession.”

The chair of MDDUS Dr Jonathan Berry said, “Our report sets out the passion, care and commitment that all MDDUS staff have shown in supporting our members through the most extraordinary circumstances.”