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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Dr Ildiko Spelt: ‘We are getting exhausted’

The recruitment crisis has hit practices across the UK. Dr Ildiko Spelt says she has spent more than a year looking for a GP to join the team

I am the only partner for just under 8,000 patients at our practice. We are near Clacton-on-Sea, which is a small seaside town and a pretty area, but it has become so difficult to recruit GPs here.

We have advertised for more than a year yet we’ve only had one applicant through normal channels, who then changed her mind. Candidates are able to shop around because of the recruitment crisis.

This situation has affected me financially because of the very high prices I have to pay for locum doctors. We are spending more money on locums so we have less money to recruit permanent GPs. It is a vicious circle.

We also earn money through ticking boxes for the QOF, and locums are not able or interested to do this in the same way as permanent staff do, so we are losing money here as well. Locums also don’t give our patients continuity of care.

The result of this is that the volume of work per doctor has become much higher, so we are getting exhausted. The number of home visits has increased, and we are working under a lot of pressure. We have a large number of elderly patients with chronic illnesses who need a lot of medical attention.

We are lucky as we have finally managed to get an agreement with a doctor who worked with us in the past as a locum, but I can see that it is difficult to find GPs everywhere.

I think the reason is that general practice is transforming – in my eyes, going downhill. New doctors are turning to other specialties and I don’t blame them.

Dr Ildiko Spelt is a GP in Clacton, Essex

Readers' comments (4)

  • Dr Spelt. Why don't you present your problem to the Area team at NHSE and give notice you will close the practice in 6 months if they do not fund a full time salaried GP or two?

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  • Or close your list immediately as a warning shot.

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  • i say you need to recruit better . I would work in a place like yours rather than say get £90k as a salaried 8 hr dr -- 8000 is about 800K and 4 doctors could manage 2k patients each

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  • It also depends how your practice had treated partners in the past ??????
    Partner has to have same respect ,workload and money to keep them not only loyal to practice but to put 100% in the job in long run.

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