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03.03.16

Almost 300 GP surgeries are financially unsustainable, says BMA

Crisis is looming for GP surgeries due to doctors planning to retire or move overseas and financial problems, the British Medical Association (BMA) have warned.

A BMA survey of 2,830 GP practices found that only 5% (142) described their financial practice as strong and 10.4% (294) described it as financially unsustainable.

Large numbers of practices also had doctors who were planning to leave to either retire (37.3%) or leave UK general practice (8.6%).

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA GP committee chair, said:  “GP practices are facing this dire situation because they are being overwhelmed by rising patient demand, cuts to funding, staff shortages and more unfunded work being moved from hospitals into the community.”

London GP practices had the worst financial stability, with the highest level of respondents concerned their services were unsustainable (14%), the largest proportion reporting their overall financial position was weak (41%) and the lowest number of GP practices reporting their situation as “strong” (2%).

The north east and east Anglia had the highest levels of practices reporting GPs considering retirement (42% and 41%), while the highest numbers of GPs planning to leave the UK were in the south (12%), the East Midlands (11%) and the south west (11%).

The BMA has launched a new campaign, Urgent Prescription for General Practice, calling on the government to deliver a comprehensive rescue practice for GP services and providing advice for practices on managing their workload and working collaboratively.

The BMA survey follows a recent Health Foundation report finding that almost a third of GPs intend to retire or switch careers in the next five years.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “We know GPs are under pressure and that is why we have agreed record investment for general practice. We saw an increase in the number of GPs recruited last year, and we will continue to boost numbers with an extra 5,000 doctors in general practice by 2020 – helping to deliver a safer NHS for patients seven days a week.”

The BMA is currently locked in a bitter industrial dispute with the government over new junior doctors’ contracts, with three 48 hour strikes planned starting from next Wednesday.

 

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