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LMCs declare 'state of emergency' amid chronic shortage of GPs

London GP leaders have declared a ‘state of emergency’ amid a chronic shortage of GPs, as a third of GP practices in in the capital are missing at least one GP.

Londonwide LMCs chief executive Dr Michelle Drage warned that increasing pressures were ‘causing people to leave in their droves’ and were responsible for the dramatic drop in GP numbers, revealed in a new workforce survey.

The Londonwide LMCs survey found that almost half GP practices in London are short at least one member of staff and 39 practices in the capital are considering handing back the keys within the next three years.

Meanwhile, the numbers of doctors applying to London training schemes decreased in comparison with the rest of the country in 2015 and a significant number are leaving the capital once they have completed their GP training, further compounding shortages, the LMCs warned.

They highlighted that this comes as London’s population is growing, expected to increase to 10 million by 2030, and a steady rise in the average number of consultations per patient, from 3.9 in 1995 to 8.3 in 2015.

Dr Drage said: ‘Patients risk losing their GPs unless pressures on general practice are dramatically eased. Between bean counting, over inspection and rising indemnity fees London general practice has had enough.

’Unless GPs push back against non-core demand and focus on what’s immediately necessary for care, there’s a real risk that we’re not only letting down ourselves, but also our patients.’

Her warning follows that of GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul ad the Special LMC Conference in Janaury, where he warned that general practice was not only in a state of emergency but also unsafe for patients.

In response to the crisis, Londonwide said it was providing advice to struggling practices including on better cash flow management, the ability to safely decline inappropriate work, and freeing up more appointments via alternative prescribing.

Readers' comments (19)

  • You know what they say "If you put a fox in the Hen house, you'll get chicken for dinner every night" !

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  • Crying wolf again?

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  • All this is falling on deaf ears - Dr Michelle Drage's all talk needs to be followed up by substantial action. This could be strikes or work to rule to ignite the british public against Mr Hunt, who we all know has no respect and no vision for the NHS.

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  • John Glasspool

    Isn't this the equivalent of hospital trusts' meaningless issuing of "purple alerts"?

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  • Harley Thespaniel

    Actually, if you put a fox in the henhouse ,you will never see any of your chickens again.

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  • Newspaper heading says:
    GMC warns: Junior Doctors could be struck off if patients come to harm.
    Is anybody worried about Doctors in general - Junior or GPs for that matter coming to harm from the stress and work overload? No, Didn't think so. We are here only to pay contributions and taxes:)

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  • LMCs are part of the problem - if you keep crying wolf then doing what you are told you appear weak, greedy, and alarmist. Either put up or leave - the junior doctors are showing up the likes of the LMCs and GPC. For several years we've had great speeches and brilliant headline grabbing quotes from the GPC but zero action. I thought we were told to accept the latest contract as it was better than nothing! The impression given is doctors are on their own as individuals and apart from the JDC should not look for support from the LMCs,GPC or RCGP. You have to take your own individual action of RELPC (retire,emigrate,locum,private,change career). There is no help coming.

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  • Sadly the LMCs and GPC get upset when someone points out that they are the problem and start talking about 'democratic' mandate, they vote in, the will of the voters (cardigans). then they get really upset and ask why anonymous posters don't stand for leadership role - the answer is easy? too many cardigans in charge and cardigans like to vote for more cardigans. We need wolves not sheep as leaders.

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  • "work to rule"

    Isn't this the whole problem though? Our brief is to provide general medical services for our practice population.

    Nowhere is it written (as far as I know) that we are obliged to do x number of hours or see x number of patients. There is no "rule" to work to!

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  • @4:37 so true. There is an epidemic of cardiaganitis running through the profession. Sadly its incurable....the prognosis is terminal

    the only solution to this is to

    "DITCH THE COUNTRY COMRADES!!!" THEREBY DITCHING THE CARDIGANS TOO!!

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