GPs under pressure: A day in the life of one surgery in Leicester

The National Health Service is huge. No doubt about that.

Many will argue it’s also struggling with strikes from nurses and ambulance workers, mounting demands from an ageing population, winter bugs, infectious diseases – the list goes on.

There’s incredible pressure in all areas of the NHS.

Just over a week ago, I spoke to an ambulance worker from Leicester and a senior health worker at one of the city’s hospitals and they told me how desperate the situation has become with patients regularly waiting for hours and hours inside an ambulance before they are seen by a doctor.

They told me lives were at risk and they felt helpless.

Record number of people in England are waiting more than 12 hours in A&E Credit: PA Images

Today, another health professional told me about the enormous stress GPs are under.

Dr Grant Ingrams has been a GP for 30 years.

He works at Oakmeadow Surgery at New Parks in Leicester.

He told me the pressure is "unbearable" and he is unable to provide the care his patients need and deserve.

Dr Grant Ingrams said: “You’re working from the moment you get here ‘till the moment you leave.

"Most full-time partners work 50-60 hours minimum and that’s often without a break."

"Every morning I know there are patients who need to see me but won’t and that is so stressful”.

According to Dr Rikesh Inamdar, who’s also a partner at the surgery, there are a multitude of reasons for the pressure including a huge influx in patients, more bugs and germs, fewer surgeries and an exodus of GPs.

He says many GPs are now choosing to work abroad because he says the work load is less, they are paid more and are treated better than here in the UK.

Dr Inamdar said: "It’s really sad because the NHS is such a vital service and if we don’t use it, we’ll lose it."

"We need to appreciate the work doctors do and pay them fairly because if we don’t, there are other roles which pay more for less work.”

It was interesting to spend the day at the surgery and it gave me a real insight into what happens there.

We arrived at 7:30am, staff were already inside preparing for the day and people began to form an orderly queue before the doors opened at 8.

The GPs start at 8am and regularly work an 11 hour day.

When they are not seeing or speaking to patients on the phone, they’re looking at the results of blood tests, dealing with admin and lots, lots more.

They were keen to point out that all the staff in their reception are highly trained to refer a patient to a GP, a telephone consultation, another service or a website that has pages and pages of useful information.

Met Powers is a healthcare navigator, a role that mostly involves spending hours on the phone taking calls, making appointments and deciding how to help the person on the other end of the phone.

She laughed when I suggested some people think they’re being nosey or ‘dragon like’ when the person in reception asks about the patient’s symptoms.

Met insists they only ask to ensure they are able to point them in the right direction, which she says helps everyone in the long run.