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Rising stress on GPs shuts branch surgery

Dr Paul Chester's rising stress levels have led his practice to close a branch surgery he was covering. Dr Chester and a GP colleague from the 12-partner Medical Group Practice in Langley Park, County Durham, have been splitting their morning surgeries since a partner retired in March 2002 so they can fill in at the branch in nearby Lanchester.

But after repeated failures to recruit a replacement, the stress has become too much.

'We have found it impossible to serve the area with the existing manpower. If visits came up in between surgeries there were just not enough hours in the day, and the second surgery would be extremely delayed,' he said.

'It was very stressful if anything other than a completely routine day happened, and that's rare in general practice. We are hoping the stress levels will be reduced now.'

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