latest health care news

19.09.16

More GPs needed to ‘keep NHS on its feet’ as 600 practices face closure

Primary medical care will be short-staffed and unsafe for patients unless more GPs are recruited to address the shortfall in the service, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has said, as it warned that nearly 600 practices are currently at risk of closure.

The RCGP estimates that the number of full-time equivalent GPs across the UK has now fallen to just over 35,500, from almost 36,000 in 2013-14.

It predicts that there could be a shortage of 9,940 GPs across the UK by 2020, leading to 594 practices which are now predominantly staffed by GPs aged over 55 closing as doctors retire.

Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the RCGP, said: “It is imperative that we recruit huge numbers of medical students and foundation doctors into general practice in order to keep the NHS on its feet.

“If we fail, there will be too few GPs to go round, practices will close, and patient safety in general practice will clearly be at risk.”

Myth-busting 'Think GP'

The RCGP has today launched a new video and guide, both called ‘Think GP’, intended to encourage new doctors to work in general practice. The video and guide, aimed at medical students, foundation doctors and sixth form students, will strive to address the misconception that the role of a GP is “somehow run-of-the-mill, with family doctors simply treating coughs and colds”.

Dr Baker continued: “GPs look after patients throughout their lives – from cradle-to-grave – and are an important part of local communities, in both urban and rural settings. They are the bedrock of the NHS, and they look after the ‘whole person’, having to understand the patient’s physical, psychological and social circumstances.

“TV programmes, like Holby City and Casualty, might like to show hospitals as the only exciting places to be a doctor but the reality is very much different.  In fact, as NHS England says: ‘There is arguably no more important job in modern Britain than that of the family doctor’.

“As time progresses, a career as a GP will become more and more intellectually and medically challenging, diverse and fulfilling. GPs will have portfolio careers heading multi-disciplinary teams, leading work in areas from geriatrics to neurology, running ‘in-reach’ to hospitals and ‘outreach’ to patients’ homes.”

NHS England recently launched the GP Forward View, with commitments including recruiting 5,000 additional doctors and investing £2.4bn a year in general practice, in order to address the workforce crisis facing the sector.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an NHE columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now beyond more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News

comment

Turning blue lights green

11/04/2019Turning blue lights green

Polly Billington, director of UK100, a cities network that campaigns on env... more >
Going back to school at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

10/04/2019Going back to school at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Steve Hams, director of quality and chief nurse at Gloucestershire Hospital... more >

interviews

How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to s... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

System working in an uncertain world

09/05/2019System working in an uncertain world

What, exactly, is an integrated care system? Well, it’s unclear, writes Kacey Cogle, policy advisor at NHS Providers. On the NHS England website, integrated care sy... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >