News

17.07.17

RCGP points to ‘huge problem’ as over 200 GPs closed or merged last year

Only eight GP practices were open last year in England, whilst 202 were either closed or merged, figures released by NHS Digital have shown.

In the period between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017, it was also revealed that almost half (47%) of CCGs had seen practice closures or mergers in their area.

The fresh figures have sparked concern from doctors, who argue that the numbers could show a trend of GPs being forced into closure as they struggle to cope with rising demand.

Chair of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, said: “It’s not clear with these figures why practices have closed – some may have merged, and others may have closed as a result of working ‘at scale’, which can bring benefits for patients through pooling resources to provide additional services or better appointment access.”

However, the RCGP lead also conceded that NHS Digital’s statistics could be symptomatic of deeper problems within general practice.  

“But this won’t always be the case and when practices are being forced to close because GPs and their teams can no longer cope with ever-growing patient demand without the necessary funding and resources, it’s a huge problem,” she added.

“And when practices are being forced to lock up and hand back the keys to their surgery because they can’t recruit enough GPs or practice staff, it will have severe consequences for our patients and the wider NHS.”

Prof Stokes-Lampard also pointed out that GPs are the “lifeblood of our local communities” and that the complete closure of any practice should always be a last resort when all other options have proved unworkable. 

“More research into why practices are closing would be really useful – but ultimately, we need the pledges in NHS England’s GP Forward View, including £2.4bn extra a year for general practice and 5,000 more full-time equivalent GPs by 2020, to be implemented in full and as a matter of urgency,” she concluded.

Today’s news follows warnings from the RCGP that more needs to be done to shorten waiting times for patients at GPs, which looked set to increase rapidly.

Top Image: Anthony Devlin

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 >

latest news

View all News

comment

NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental ... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >

editor's comment

26/06/2020Adapting and Innovating

Matt Roberts, National Health Executive Editorial Lead. NHE May/June 2020 Edition We’ve been through so much as a health sector and a society in recent months with coronavirus and nothing can take away from the loss and difficulties that we’ve faced but it vital we also don’t disregard the amazing efforts we’ve witnessed. Staff have gone above and beyond, whole hospitals and trusts have flexed virtually at will to meet demand and pressures and we’ve... read more >

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us throu more > more last word articles >

interviews

Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

NHS at 72: Managing mental health services going forward

03/07/2020NHS at 72: Managing mental health services going forward

Sean Duggan, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Network Let’s take this opportunity to reflect on the amazing achievements of our health system over the past few ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

healthcare events

events calendar

back

July 2020

forward
mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
29 30 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9

featured articles

View all News