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GPs buried under trusts' workload dump

Extend London pay to nearby areas to stop GPs leaving, argue MPs

GPs in areas close to London should have their pay weighted to match those in the city, in an attempt to stop them leaving the local area for higher wages, MPs have argued.

MP Gordon Henderson – who represents Sittingbourne and Sheppey – said it is no coincidence that three of the five worst areas for GP-patient ratio are in Kent, and blamed the proximity to London.

He told members of the House of Commons the London weighting allowance should be extended to cover Kent, to make it easier to recruit GPs and other clinicians.

In response, minister for care Caroline Dinenage did not address the suggestion, but said the Government is 'pushing harder than ever' to meet its 5,000 extra GPs pledge.

Addressing the house, Mr Henderson said: ‘Although there is a nationwide shortage, the problem is more acute in my constituency, and across Kent generally.

‘Indeed, out of the top five areas in England with the worst GP to patient ratios, three of them —Swale, Thanet and Bexley— are in our county. That cannot be a coincidence.’

‘Doctors can earn more working in London than they can in Kent, because of the London weighting allowance.

‘I would like to see the London weighting allowance extended to cover Kent, which would make it easier to recruit not only doctors, but also other public sector professionals, such as nurses, police officers, teachers, fire-fighters and prison officers, all of whom it is difficult for us to recruit,’ he added.

The debate, which took place earlier this week, also saw another Kent MP Helen Whately - who represents Faversham and Mid Kent - warn of a practice in her constituency which has 4,000 patients for every GP.

She said: ‘My constituents also face some difficulties getting access to a GP in my area of Swale borough, and also on the Maidstone side of my constituency, where in one practice the ratio of GPs to patients is 1:4,000.

‘It is a real problem. I am concerned that there is not enough of a sense of urgency among some CCGs about fixing the problem.’

Minister for Care Ms Dinenage told MPs: ‘I completely recognise the challenges he describes, because my constituency faces almost identical issues with accessing GPs, inadequate roads, housing developments and trying to attract GPs to the area.

‘The Government recognise that this is an issue that affects the care patients receive. We are working very hard to address it and are pushing harder than ever to grow the workforce by the extra 5,000 GPs to which we have committed.’

In 2015, then health secretary Jeremy Hunt promised to add at least 10,000 extra primary care staff, including 5,000 GPs, within five years.

But although NHS England said it was ‘on track’ to recruit the 5,000 other staff, Mr Hunt admitted in June last year he was ‘struggling to deliver’ on GP numbers.

Earlier this year, health secretary Matt Hancock admitted to Pulse this target would not be met on time, and said that no new target date has been set.

This week, a major report from three think tanks warned the NHS will fall 7,000 GPs short within the next five years, adding that efforts to recruit more GPs will not be enough to save primary care.

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Readers' comments (12)

  • National Hopeless Service

    Brexit is buggered, the health system is buggered, policing is buggered, social care is buggered and Education is buggered. But thank goodness the Tories are looking after the economy.

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  • London weighting, huh sub inflation increase for over a decade.A storm is coming better batten down the hatches in the UK.

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  • what is London weighting, I see same sausages everywhere in England. Does any one get more for working in London?

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  • Cobblers

    It would appear that those MPs are suffering "Brexit Brain" along with the SoS for Health and the rest of the DoH.

    It will take a lot more than London Weighting to deal with the shortfall in numbers.

    I was a Kent GP and chucked it in in 2016. Sh1t job, sh1t pay and CQC sniffing about wanting their pound of flesh and I did not have the patience to deal with those parasites.

    My pension was ready and off I went. 2000 patients to find new GPs.

    I could have worked another 6 ot 7 years and faded away gracefully handing over to a keen youngster but this is not the Government's design. In fact other than lining their own pockets I don't think they have a design. HMOs anyone? I doubt it. Their crapulent spoutings and behaviour on Brexit puts MPs lower than Estate Agents and Double Glazing Salesmen with whom they are usually are on a par.

    But hey TFI Friday!!

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  • I didn't realise GPs get London weighting. Is this correct?

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  • It's hard to know just how ignorant politicians are ? do they really want the system to fail, or are they just, basically,...well, ignorant. I would not blame them for that as after too many years it never fails me how even District Nurses don't know that GP's are self employed! The point is by not grasping the fact that the most efficient, cheapest healthcare system on the planet revolves around General Practice and more pertinently the General Practitioner it should deserve their uniquivocal support. Even if the government doubled the global sum to GP's ( and cut the garbage of CQC, revalidation etc) plus sorting out the legal system of compensation they would have a bargain! Instead they want GP's to inform all and sundry when they have earned more than 150K! The thing that gets my goats is, that the majority of doctors would be happy, the majority of the public would also support this (when presented with the cost of any alternatives!,) and despite this there is no dialogue of the impending end game. The BMA, RCGP, etc really need to stop working on the current model and stop supporting the irretrievable. If the politicians really want the system to fail please, please do not allow our noble profession to be party to their agenda, even if it is by ignorance...and that is being generous! Come on Leaders, the profession and public deserve better, we will not get it from Politicians!

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  • Just Your Average Joe

    Politicians, BMA, RCGP and Medical Schools need to look sat who is going in, and how many of those are staying in medicine, and working full time.

    Even if 20 GPs leave VTS schemes - allowing for those going abroad, quitting, on extended maternity and childcare leave, and portfolio work, you will be lucky to have even half as Full Time Equivalent overall.

    So 20 GPs qualifying will not replace 10 Full time retiring GPs - so even if the numbers training match those retiring there will be a massive deficit waiting to hit home sooner or later.

    This imbalance in numbers needs a review in those accepted for training in medical schools and beyond, GP only medical schools, and some sort of golden handcuffs for training medicals students and GP trainees to keep them within the NHS as part of the contract to be accepted.

    If not started soon, there will be no NHS GPs to look after the Ivory Tower collective when they retire, though they probably have private cover and don't care.

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  • dont worry guys, after Brexit we will get £5,000,000 a week for the NHS.

    All will be well, just be patient when you voted last time...

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  • Not to worry about the weighting, the extra you get will go to tax and pension tax and it really is not worth the house prices, pollution, stabbings and workload as well as clinical risk. Do no work in poorly staffed areas to help only for Gross Negligence Manslaughter charges if you rush and miss something.

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  • Don't quote Hunt please:) screwed up NHS and now Foreign policy stuffed with Brexit - even laxatives not helping. They should have retired him but, of course, loyalty to aunty May is the prime merit and rewarded as in his case. At least one bad dream for NHS is over.

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