GP practices are failing to fill key vacancies as recruitment crisis takes hold.
Some facts about general practice:
General Practice in this country is widely admired throughout the world and is seen to deliver high quality services, available to all, irrespective of their ability to pay, cost effective and trusted by patients.
There are 40,000 GPs in the UK and the average GP looks after about 1,700 patients.
In 2004 there were 240,000,000 consultations with GPs and this rose to 340,000,000 in 2013, which means about 1,000,000 patients, consult with a GP each day.
On average a GP will see about 40 – 45 patients per day.
General Practice received about 8% of the NHS budget yet accounts for 90% of all the patient contacts.
Practices are funded between £60 – £80 per patient per year so less than £2 per person per week.
On the 19th May 2014 Wessex LMCs issued a Press Release, commenting on a survey of GP recruitment and retention. These results were obtained by surveying individual GPs.
This survey made grim reading and has serious implications for the provision of GP services in the Wessex region.
Full details can be found at:
In addition to the survey of GPs, the LMC has also surveyed Practice Managers to understand the problems that Practices face in relation to the recruitment and retention of GPs, Practice Managers and Practice Nurses.
There are 480 Practices in the Wessex region and 275 (57%) Practice Managers responded to the survey about GPs and Nurses and 342 (71%) about Practice Managers.
The key findings were:
- 66% of practices had a GP vacancy in the last 12 months and 28% have failed to recruit.
- 54% had a Practice Nurse vacancy in the last 12 months and 20% have failed to recruit.
- Over 30% of practices report they are currently short of GPs and 27% are short of Practice Nurses.
- In the next 12 months 6% of Practice Managers have indicated that they intend to retire, 9% reduce their working pattern and 8% intend to leave the profession, a total of 23%.
Dr Nigel Watson, GP in the New Forest and Chief Executive of Wessex Local Medical Committees said â€œthis survey was no surprise following on closely from last weeks result and they should be a wake up call to all.
For many practices the problem of recruitment goes beyond just GPs.
Practice Managers have been saying for sometime that their job has become impossible, with more bureaucracy, rising workload and reduced funding it is therefore no surprise that in the next 12 months over 20% of Practice Managers plan to leave the profession or reduce their commitment.
Practice Nurses have become increasingly important to help deliver a comprehensive service within general practice yet it seems increasingly difficult to recruit Nurses and this compounds the problems with GP recruitment and retention.
General Practice is facing the greatest challenge in a generation. Solutions need to be found urgently, if not the result would be unthinkable.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, Chair of the BMAs GP committee said:
” GP practices in Wessex, like many across the country, are under relentless pressure from rising patient demand from an ageing population, falling resources and workload being moved from hospitals into the community.
” This survey provides further evidence that GP practices are struggling to recruit the vital staff they need to deliver care to patients in this difficult climate. Without an adequate workforce of GPs, nurses and other healthcare professionals it will not be possible for GP practices to provide enough appointments and services to meet the sheer volume of patients coming through the surgerys doors.
“Patients are getting understandably frustrated by this situation, which is why the BMA has launched the Your GP Cares campaign calling on the government to begin a programme of long term, sustained investment in general practice. Only by facing up to the problems facing GP services will patients get the quality of care that they deserve.”
The finding support evidence nationally from surveys undertaken by the British Medical Association and the current campaign to support general practice: