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Jobs desert in major cities for salaried GPs

By Gareth Iacobucci

Exclusive: GPs are facing a jobs desert in many areas of the country, with salaried posts virtually impossible to find in a succession of major towns and cities, the BMA is warning.

GP leaders claim the Government is deliberately creating an over-supply of recruits in the jobs market, which has led to vacancies almost entirely disappearing in cities including London, Liverpool, Nottingham, Oxford and York.

The glut of newly trained GPs, particularly around large deaneries, is set to have a downward pressure on incomes - with both the Department of Health and NHS Employers citing it to the pay review body to justify restricting pay.

GP leaders are warning the jobs situation is about to get even worse, with some practices poised to announce redundancies in an attempt to drive down spiralling expenses and prepare for losses through the GP contract.

Dr Vicky Weeks, chair of the sessional GPs subcommittee, said job shortages were especially bad in the capital and in towns close to medical training schools, and questioned plans to create another 800 GP training places: ‘We just can't tally up how the DH views there is a shortage of GPs, yet on the ground people can't find jobs.'

Dr Weeks also said there were huge issues facing locum GPs, who had been forced to slash their rates because of the employment crisis by up to £10 per hour.

But evidence has also begun to emerge that practices will start making staff redundant to cope with financial difficulties.

Dr Peter Graves, chief executive of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire LMC, said: ‘I have had two practices approach me in last three or four weeks saying they are now going to make staff redundant because their income is down. Among those there are salaried GPs – because of the pay freeze and expenditure goes up and income hasn't.'

Dr Graves said the issue was likely to be worse in his area because of the change in QOF prevalence calculations, with all practices down on income - some by up to 2%.

Dr Michelle Drage, joint chief executive of Londonwide LMCs, said there was anecdotal evidence practices in London were beginning to lay off salaried staff.

She said: ‘It's something practices are saying they're doing. We're hearing through various organisations that it's happening to staff. It's a problem but we would rather see practices ride the storm in the short term.'

Dr Richard Van Mellaerts, a GP in East London, is one of those who has experienced difficulty finding work. ‘There is a lack of jobs being advertised and those that do all seem to be part-time salaried jobs covering extended hours,' he said.

Dr Peter Graves: Two local practices are cutting salaried GP positions Dr Peter Graves: Two local practices are cutting salaried GP positions

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