'I don't know' if we'll cope - York GPs facing Strep A surge in demand

Professor Mike Holmes, of Nimbuscare, who has warned that GP practices are seeing a surge in demand for appointments because of increasing Strep A cases - and might not be able to cope <i>(Image: The Press)</i>
Professor Mike Holmes, of Nimbuscare, who has warned that GP practices are seeing a surge in demand for appointments because of increasing Strep A cases - and might not be able to cope (Image: The Press)

GP PRACTICES in York are seeing a huge rise in demand for appointments in the wake of surging Strep A cases - and a senior doctor says he honestly doesn't know if they will be able to cop ...although they'll keep trying.

Professor Mike Holmes, of primary health care provider Nimbuscare, says the additional pressure generated by the increase in cases of Group A Streptococcal infection has been 'significant.'

Writing in his weekly column for The Press, he said he had heard 'terrible reports' of the impact of the disease and seen a huge rise in the demands for General Practice appointments.

"All of the practices in the city have done everything they can to try to cope with the demand and are working together as Nimbuscare to put additional capacity into the system," he says.

"This is so difficult with limited resources. Will we cope? Will we be able to offer the services that the public want?.....I don’t know is the honest answer, but we will keep trying."

He says the reality is that every part of the system is under enormous pressure and anyone who has tried to use the system will know that.

"But I take consolation from another reality – that everyone working in the system is going above and beyond – often to their own detriment and whilst that is definitely not sustainable, I applaud it loudly."

He said this week the challenges faced every day in health and social care had gone up another level or two, and he refers to 'caring for refugees in the city' as well as the Streptococcal outbreak.

"Having an organisation like Nimbuscare, where colleagues in General Practice can work together for the benefit of the city, has really been a blessing," he says.

"Those working in all aspects of health and social care really do deserve to be acknowledged (and definitely do not deserve criticism on any level)."

He says the word ‘permacrisis’ (Collins English Dictionary: “an extended period of instability and insecurity, esp one resulting from a series of catastrophic events.”) seems to have crept into the English language in the last year, with the crises seeming to come one after the other – covid 19 and other disease outbreaks, economic challenges, conflict, energy shortages, political upheaval.

"We are left wondering when things will reach an acceptable equilibrium again? Probably not for some time I suspect.

"So, as we approach the holiday season at the end of 2023, what do we do in the face of potential power cuts, economic hardship, general practice under pressure that we’ve never seen before, hospital waits getting longer and longer, politicians trying to distract us with fake news?

"Well we mustn’t give up. I cast my mind back to the way we pulled together during the recent pandemic – working collectively with a shared purpose, supporting and recognising the difficulties and fear that everyone is experiencing, whilst being resolute to get through it together."