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GPs buried under trusts' workload dump

​600 GP practices at risk of closure, says RCGP

Around 600 practices are at risk of closure by 2020 due to problems recruiting GPs, the RCGP has claimed.

These practices all have at least 75% of their GPs aged 55 and over, the college says, which will lead to a shortfall of almost 10,000 GPs across the UK within four years.

It comes as the RCGP has launched a new video campaign aimed at foundation doctors, medical students and sixth-form students.

The campaign is designed to show that general practice is ‘exciting and challenging’, and address the myth that ‘the role of a GP is somehow run-of-the-mill, with family doctors simply treating coughs and colds’.

The RCGP says that patient safety is at risk unless the recruitment issues are addressed.

Pulse has – through its Stop Practice Closures campaign – reported that a number of practices have closed as a result of being unable to recruit GPs.

Last week, partners at an 18,000-patient practice in Oxfordshire announced they were handing their contract back after failing to recruit enough GPs to remain open.

The RCGP’s analysis of official figures concluded that by 2020 there will be a shortfall of 8,371 GPs in England, 830 in Scotland, 424 in Wales and 316 in Northern Ireland due to the prevalence of GPs over the age of 55 and an increasing number of early retirements.

It said that in response, it is ‘launching a ground-breaking new video and guide’.

A statement from the college said: ‘[We hope] that the video and guide will explode the myth perpetuated by TV programmes like Casualty, Holby City and 24 Hours in A&E that only doctors who work in hospital settings have an exciting and challenging role.

‘Another falsehood that the video and guide – both called Think GP – will try to address is the idea that circulates in certain parts of the medical world that that the role of a GP is somehow run-of-the-mill, with family doctors simply treating coughs and colds.’

It follows the failed Health Education England video campaign last year, which featured a GP signing off forms for a patient to go skydiving.

Already the RCGP’s video – which follows GPs around a series of settings, including a rural GP, a prison GP and an academic GP – has been better received than HEE’s campaign.

RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said: ‘It is imperative that we recruit huge numbers of medical students and foundation doctors into general practice in order to keep the NHS on its feet. If we fail, there will be too few GPs to go round, practices will close, and patient safety in general practice will clearly be at risk.

‘Despite the fact that general practice is critical to the success of the NHS, there is a bizarre misconception in certain parts of the medical world that GPs merely treat coughs and colds.

‘However, our Think GP video and guide explode this dangerous myth by showing that family doctors are expert medical generalists who have to manage and understand chronic long-term conditions and deliver the continuing care that our most complex of patients need.’

Readers' comments (32)

  • simple simon and runt are a national disaster and disgrace
    ?why have this useless utterly incompetent pair of weapons of mass nhs destruction not been SACKED?
    their failures are in the hundreds........
    both continue to cause massive damage to health care and it is simply unacceptable...especially as all the changes in the past 6 years have been done in the absence of a we hear the STP plans were already mooted in 2013 but delayed till 2016 as it was clear if they told the electorate the election would not have been won by Cameron.
    I despair at our utterly pathetic political system of allegedly corrupt serial liars.

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  • It's really very simple - PAY MORE - then advertise GP as a job that gives you lots of money to have holidays away from being a GP - let's be honest - we do see lots of coughs and colds

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  • RCGP is as clever as is responsible for creating this mess.It is a political move by RCGP.

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  • 600 sounds remarkably low
    As a former CCG Chair with 2 practices out of 10 returning contracts I suspect the real number is much bigger and predict that more will have returned contracts in 2 years time

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  • Complaints. Litigation. CQC. Targets. Pension sabotage. Massive Indemnity costs. Revalidation pressures. Falling income. Dismal family life. General practice is not a career. Just a tough and miserable existence for those who wanted to make a difference. You just try and survive the week. Then as it worsens you just try and get through each day and then each hour by hour.

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  • Why will any want to be a GP when you have to deal with 80% shit and 20% clinical stuff.Even a clerk can issue sick notes,refer patients to hospitals.People chose being GP because it was good money and less work. There is nothing else exciting about being a GP.

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  • Took Early Retirement

    600 by 2020? If she means by twenty past eight this evening, she might be right.

    Yes, you can present people with a bucket of faeces, you can paint it any colour you like, but it is still a bucket of faeces.

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  • alleged junior doctor 715
    your entire comment is respectfully absurd and betrays complete lack of knowledge of gp's role..though I agree with the political interference by management idiots..just as bad in hospital.

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  • I hope we will still get out pensions when the NHS is forced to collapse?

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  • OK then..BMA/RCGP..this is a genuine national emergency which requires radical action NOW!..This needs screaming from the rooftops and both should be publically demanding urgent talks with hunt and stevens at once.

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