GP leader warns of primary care recruitment crisis

2 Oct 14
More than 500 GP surgeries face closure because a recruitment and retention crisis means doctors who retire are not being replaced, the Royal College of General Practitioners has warned.

By Richard Johnstone | 2 October 2014

More than 500 GP surgeries face closure because a recruitment and retention crisis means doctors who retire are not being replaced, the Royal College of General Practitioners has warned.

In figures published today, the RCGP said as many as 543 GP practices in England could soon shut because over 90% of the doctors employed in these surgeries were now aged over 60.

A rescue package was needed by government to make sure there were enough doctors to take their place, RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said.
In her inaugural speech to the college’s national conference in Liverpool today, Baker warned a severe workforce crisis meant the number of people entering the profession was falling short of the number of GPs who are leaving.
She revealed the college estimates more than 1,000 GPs will be leaving the profession on an annual basis by 2022, while the number of unfilled GP posts has nearly quadrupled in the last three years, from 2.1% in 2010 to 7.9% in 2013.

Parts of the health system could fall apart when practices have to shut their doors, Baker said, and there was a need for 8,000 more full time equivalent GPs by 2020.

‘Every practice closed is a loss to a local community. Not only do patients lose out, but it piles more pressure on neighbouring practices, swelling patient lists already bursting at the seams.
‘We all know about the 98 practices in England, identified by NHS bosses that are at risk of closure due to the removal of the minimum price income guarantee.

‘Today I can reveal new estimates from the college that 543 practices in England are at risk of closure if something isn’t done. There are practices that have over 90% of GPs over the age of 60, when the average retirement age of GPs is 59 – this is shocking.’

It was worrying that new doctors and nurses were not being attracted to general practice due to workload pressures, she added.
There was a need for a ‘new deal’ for general practice that includes cutting back on the bureaucracy that currently prevents qualified GPs from returning to work after a career break and specific incentives to encourage more doctors into deprived areas.

Responding to the report, a Department of Health spokeswoman said: ‘We know GPs are under pressure, which is why we're increasing trainees so that GP numbers continue to grow faster than the population and will train 10,000 more primary and community health and care staff by 2020, including 5,000 more GPs.

‘There are already 1,000 more GPs than in 2010 and we're making it easier for GPs to return to the profession.’


Spacer

CIPFA logo

PF Jobsite logo

Did you enjoy this article?

AddToAny

Have your say

Top