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GPs go forth

Health minister doubts claims of a GP recruitment crisis

Health minister Dr Dan Poulter has said that claims there is a GP recruitment crisis are ‘not necessarily correct’, despite NHS England releasing a £10m ten point plan on boosting recruitment last month.

Speaking in a debate on general practice funding in the House of Commons, Dr Poulter said he didn’t think that the point made that there was ‘a crisis in GP recruitment’ was ‘necessarily correct’.

The three-hour long debate, inspired by RCGP’s Put Patients First campaign, concluded with MPs voting in favour of a motion calling for the health secretary ‘to work with NHS England and the RCGP to secure the financial future of local GP services as a matter of urgency’.

The motion was brought by Labour MP for Halton Derek Twigg and Green Party MP for Brighton Pavillion Caroline Lucas, who argued that the quality of GP services is declining because of a lack of funding relative to other NHS services and there are too few new GPs being trained.

Mr Twigg was talking about how out-of-hours services are organised and the Government’s plan to extend GP opening times to evenings and weekends, when he said: ‘The key thing here is that we haven’t got enough GPs and that is the point we have got to really focus on today.’

However Dr Poulter responded that it was ‘not necessarily correct’ that there was a crisis.

He told Mr Twigg: ‘On the point of long-term workforce planning, and this is an important point. Very clear, that if the honorable member is raising the fact that there is suddenly a crisis in GP recruitment, something that I don’t think is necessarily correct, that actually if the previous Government was actually serious about investing in general practice it should have trained a lot more GPs than it did.’

It comes as Pulse revealed in December that GP training is in turmoil with ‘one application for every four roles’ and as the Government launched a £10 million ten-point plan to boost recruitment and retention of GPs just last week.

The RCGP’s Put Patients First campaign has been petitioning for general practice to receive at least 11% of total NHS funding.



Readers' comments (43)

  • This is Rotherham Council type lunacy and really is nutters running the asylum.

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  • I agree with the minister.The claims are exaggerated.There has always been a relative shortage in rural and some inner city areas but that is nothing new.The practices here in Nottingham are always inundated with young enthusiastic GP applicants.Never had a problem.

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  • Tory
    Hes also in the right place with the other members.
    Infuriating idiot.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Ha ha ha!
    You just slapped the faces of David Cameron and his mates who 'promised' to recruit so many many GPs in the near future.(Of course,labour dares not say less).
    There is something called political wisdom,son!

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  • The guy is an idiot and must be completely stupid. Shameful this statement is coming from a fellow doctor. I've advertised in the bmj pulse, LinkedIn and locally the last 3 weeks, offered a golden hello as part of a local ccg scheme and closing date tomorrow. Not a single applicant with 3 doctors leaving! But off course this is not a crisis.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Why are you still wasting your youth away with this bloody party?

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  • Dear 4:38pm.

    "A Breckland District Council scrutiny report this summer found there were 50 GP vacancies in Norfolk, which represented an overall 10pc shortfall"

    Perhaps you should be a Tory MP not a GP who lives in the real world

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  • Simple politicking. He's not going to admit there's an issue due to his party's policies in the department he is responsible for, less than 100 days before a general election.

    We all however, know what's true. General practice is being destabilised with huge numbers of senior doctors looking to escape the madhouse as soon as possible, younger doctors emigrating abroad for much better pay, working conditions and lifestyle, as well as large numbers of medical students and foundation trainees shunning general practice as a career.

    What goes on in the real world is never accurately described by what comes out of a politicians mouth. Twas ever thus.

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  • The retirement Tsunami can be seen in the distance . It is rapidly approaching . BUT it is not here yet and therefore there is no actual crisis that has to be dealt with . When it hits land primary care will swept away on " the turning tide " . Then it will be much too late .

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  • Consider falling session numbers also. With the intensity of work, and the amount of clinical paperwork and results, 7 sessions is the new 8 sessions, which was the old 9 sessions.
    By Easter I'm expecting 6 sessions to be the new 'full time'.

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