Strategic health authority

1. Who are you and what do you do? “I am a general practitioner, patients present themselves with their problems and I try to help in any way possible by prescribing medicine and giving advice on how to keep a healthy lifestyle and prevent any further problems, which could result in illnesses. I look at the patient’s medical history and try to work out what might be causing them to have these symptoms. There could be a high increase in stress levels or a lack of vitamins in their diet. I also do house checkups for the elderly or anyone incapable in visiting me here at the surgery.”

2. If your profession didn’t exist, what impact would it have on society? “I think it would have a big impact as GP’s are normally seen as the first people to contact when ill unless it’s an emergency. They are important as they can deal with anyone with all sorts of problems.” 3. Which other profession in the NHS do you work closely with? “I work with five other GPs, a counsellor and three practice nurses. There are also other professions such as a chiropodist, midwives and health visitors. I have a secretary and there are six receptionists who work shifts within the surgery.”

4. Can you tell me more about the technical skills or scientific knowledge you need to do you role? “You need to know everything about the human body and how it works. Biology is very important and should be studied further as it is vital to know about this subject vigorously. You don’t need to possess many technical skills but you do need to be able to use a computer as they will be used to store medical notes on patients and also a phone to check up on patients. You should also know how to use the specialist equipment as they may be needed when helping with a patient.”

5. How did you become a GP? – A levels. – Medical training. – Foundation training. – Three years’ specialist GP training. 6. Why did you decide to become a GP? “I chose to specialize as a GP because it was patient-centered and I could establish long-term relationships with my patients. We don’t just deal with clinical conditions and prescribe medicines. Often people talk to their GP because they feel lonely, stressed or low. It is quite amazing how much people trust their GP.”

7. What personal qualities should a GP have? “GPs hold a position of trust in society – it’s what drew me to the job. So you must have the interpersonal skills to put people at ease. The same is true when working in a close team. Dealing with ill people can be stressful, so you need to understand and communicate with colleagues, recognizing when and why things are getting to them. Share your problems as well. If you are aware of your own limitations, people respect you more.”

How is the interview useful? The financial structure of the NHS The financial structure begins with the Parliament in which Alistair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer deals with all economic and financial matters. He decides to give the Department of Health, headed by Alan Johnson, 106 billion which is then split between 10 Health Authorities. The Strategic Health Authority Configurations were split into 10 sections as of 1st July 2006 when there were 28 originally.

This change from 28 authorities to 10 made a difference as there were fewer discrepancies between each area as there were fewer constituencies. The leaders of each health authority could decide to provide certain types of drugs but not all due to costs and this could be inconvenient for patients living in the postcode as they would have to move to another area to get the right medication. Having 10 regions works for the better and there would be all types of drugs to go around the whole area and get to the patients who need it.

The money is split unequally but the bigger the population, the more money is given to that area. It also depends on how much more money is being earned in the area and there tends to be more being earned the further south you go. In each strategic health authority, the money is split between two health trusts: 25% of the funds go to the NHS Trust and 75% to the Primary Care Trust. In the NHS Trust, the 25% of money is spent on the hospitals and its staff, training, buildings and equipment etc. In the hospitals, you would be asked who your GP is and they will then send a bill to them. The hospitals generally look after you but they don’t pay for your medication, they provide the facilities and medical team to help the patients get better.

In the Primary Care Trust, the 75% of money is mostly spent on Drugs and the rest on the GP surgeries. The money for the GP surgeries is also divided into paying the GP’s personal incomes, salaries of other staff such as nurses and receptionists, cleaners and building and equipment. This large sum of money helps in paying the bills sent over from the hospital for medication for the GP’s patients. Thus why most of the money is spent on the drugs and 75% is required as medication can be expensive.


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