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  • Valuations for GP premises sustainability loan in Scotland circulated

    Valuations for GP premises sustainability loan in Scotland circulated

    Wednesday, 25 July 2018 14:03
  • Doctors reminded to preserve patient records for UK Infected Blood Inquiry

    Doctors reminded to preserve patient records for UK Infected Blood Inquiry

    Friday, 20 July 2018 14:51
  • NAO gives NHS vanguards a mixed review

    NAO gives NHS vanguards a mixed review

    Monday, 02 July 2018 16:45
  • Scotland to expand international recruitment for doctors and nurses

    Scotland to expand international recruitment for doctors and nurses

    Friday, 22 June 2018 16:07
  • GP trainee round 1 recruitment increases 10%

    GP trainee round 1 recruitment increases 10%

    Tuesday, 19 June 2018 17:53

GP writingApril 6 2016

Only 4.8% of GP practices in England have reported never having problems finding locum cover in the past 12 months.
While 9.7% said a locum had not been required, 39.7% of the 2,814 practices who responded to the BMA survey said they had had occasional problems, and 45.8% said they had had frequent problems.

On a regional basis, London reported the highest level of never having had a problem at 8.5%, while the South reported the most frequent problems at 61.7%.

The data comes from the BMA survey, partially published last month, which suggested almost 300 GP practices faced closure due to problems recruiting GPs. This latest tranche of data to be published “is more evidence of the incredible strain on GP services which has left general practice struggling to provide effective care to patients,” said the BMA.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA GP committee chair, said the results show that many GP practices are struggling to find cover to plug the staffing gaps they face and that the majority are having to rely routinely on temporary cover.

“GP locums do an outstanding job of stepping in to provide care to patients at short notice,” he said. However, he warned that GP practices are increasingly facing longer term vacancies because of the recruitment crisis gripping general practice. “If a GP locum cannot be found in these situations many practices struggle to offer enough appointments to meet their patients’ needs.

“Last year more than 600 GP trainee places were unfilled, while more than a third of GPs are estimated to be considering retirement in the next five years. This comes at a time when many GP practices are buckling under the pressure of rising patient demand, stagnating funding and unresourced work being moved from hospitals into the community.”

RCGP Chair Dr Maureen Baker said the findings confirm what the College has been saying about the severe lack of family doctors across the country. While locums provide an “invaluable service” and “form an integral part of the general practice team,” she said, “we are currently relying on them too much to plug the long-term gaps in our workforce.

“At a time when we currently have a severe shortage of family doctors across the UK, it is essential that we do everything we can to encourage people to join our profession – whether as partnered, salaried or locum GPs. We need to implement robust plans to turn the tide, such as our joint 10-point plan, launched earlier this year with NHS England, Health Education England, and the BMA.”

Links:

BMA announcement

RCGP response

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