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Easier for GPs to fill vacancies

Practices in England and Wales are finding it easier to recruit GPs, Department of Health figures suggest.

The number of GP vacancies in England left unfilled in excess of three months more than halved in the past year, falling from 2.4 per cent to 1.1 per cent. In Wales the figure fell from 2.1 to 1.8 per cent.

The number of practice nurse vacancies also fell slightly to 0.6 per cent, the GP Practice Vacancy Survey 2006 found.

West Yorkshire saw the big-gest drop in unfilled vacancies, followed by north-west London. Practices in the West Midlands and North Wales found it hardest to recruit staff.

Rural practices also had greater difficulties in finding new GPs, with the number of three-month vacancies climbing from 1.1 per cent to 1.6 per cent.

GPs said a declining number of GP vacancies was a key factor in the figures.

Dr Laurence Buckman, GPC deputy chair, said: 'Employment trends are changing – there are fewer principals and more locums, nurses and health care assistants are being used.'

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