GP's new role to cut A&E queues
A FAMILY doctor has quit his job on a top health management body to help cut the queues at North Staffordshire's over-stretched A&E unit.
Country GP Dr Sunil Angris stepped down from the clinical commissioning group (CCG) just three months before it is due to take control of the NHS in Newcastle and the Staffordshire moorlands.
He spent 18 months on the board of the CCG, which has been operating in shadow form ready to replace the primary care trust in April.
But as the emergency centre at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire comes under unprecedented pressure with a huge surge of patients over the past months, he wanted to treat some of the cases and take pressure off A&E teams.
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And his departure will also give him more time to spend with his own patients at his practice in Waterhouses, near Leek.
Dr Angris said: "I have always loved my time involved in NHS management and enjoyed my role on the CCG at a very exciting time as it has started from scratch and is now ready to take over.
"But it has been time-consuming and I am a people person so for the moment I feel I need to spend longer with my patients in the surgery or helping out in A&E.
"I am a single-handed GP so basically I wanted to put my patients before management for a while."
He admits there is a stark contrast between working in his rural surgery one day and then battling the deluge of casualties pouring into the Hartshill unit the next.
But he said: "I have now done two sessions in the hospital's emergency department and found them both really interesting.
"What we as GPs can do there is to treat the more minor casualties and hopefully turn them round as quickly as possible to allow A&E specialists more time to focus on the more complex cases. I just hope it will help make a difference."
The unit has been hit by an 11 per cent rise in demand over the past year and continually misses Government targets on how quickly patients should be seen.
Against a Whitehall directive that 95 percent of people should be treated within four hours, it last week recorded its worst performance for years, when just 73 percent of patients were seen within the time limit..
Dr Angris believes the problem is solely linked to the flow of patients through the whole hospital system and out into community care rather than any failing in A&E itself.
He said: "Three separate Department of Health papers have found clinical director Magnus Harrison and his team to be world class - the best in the NHS."
The medic has been at Waterhouses for around 20 years and before his latest role he was clinical chairman of the moorlands PCT.
At the CCG he was joint director for planned (routine) care with Dr Vamsi Tiguti from Blythe Bridge.
Chairman Dr Mark Shapley said: "Sunil has made an invaluable contribution to establishing and developing us."