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GP vacancies in one region set to double in a year

Exclusive The number of GP vacancies in Essex is set to double in the next year, GP leaders have warned following one of the largest GP workforce surveys yet.

A survey by Essex CCGs and the LMC of 63% of GP practices in the county - covering some 1.3 million patients - found that at least 55 GPs are planning to retire in the next year, while there are a current 50.5 posts vacant.

Out of the vacant posts, 80% have now been unfilled for more than three months leading to fears around how the retiring GPs will be replaced.

Essex LMC chief executive said that there is a potential that we are ‘heading for disaster’.

There are no current workforce statistics on the number of vacancies, but a Pulse survey of 440 GPs earlier this year found that one in ten GP partnership positions have been left vacant for more than a year, and a quarter have been vacant for over six months.

But Essex has had particular problems, with the local Health Education England board providing finding for GP practices to offer £10,000 ‘golden hello’ payments, while Pulse revealed that there is one GP for every 8,000 patients in Frinton-on-Sea on the Essex coast.

NHS North East Essex CCG, where the LMC said there is a ‘well-publicised recruitment crisis’, has the highest number of current vacancies reported by practices at 19, and 14 of these have been left unfilled for more than three months.

A further 11 of North East Essex GPs are planning to leave their practices within the next year, but Mid Essex is to be the hardest hit next year with 15 planned GP departures.

The LMC said it could ‘only speculate’ as to what the reasons were behind the exodus, but said the removal of MPIG would have had a ‘significant effect’.

Essex LMC chief executive Dr Brian Balmer said: ‘One can only speculate on the reason for the predicted problem in Mid Essex, but the current re-distribution of resources within general practice, particularly the removal of the correction factor, will have a significant adverse effect on general practice in this CCG.’

Commening on the survey results overall, Dr Balmer said: ‘It doesn’t look like a disaster, it’s patchy.

‘Whether we are heading for a disaster is another question because we have got 50 vacancies now, but 55 are planning to leave within a year so that is 55 on top of that. Because most of the current vacancies have been present for more than three months there is a concern that we are beginning to build up a backlog.’

Readers' comments (19)

  • Nobody wants to be a ******* GP, that's why!
    Get a grip and "man up" Jeremy Hunt, your "propaganda machine" is starting to malfunction.
    I have to say that as a "general rule" medicine as a job (not the patients but allied factors) have ruined my life and I would not wish the job on an ISIS Jihadi never mind my children.
    The culture that I am "honoured to have the opportunity to be abused" by the media, DOH and society in general is a concept that I struggle with as is the concept that somehow I "owe society".
    I have paid lots of tax, gone to work ill and generally given far more to society than I have ever taken out, I work bloody hard and am pathologically conscientious and jump through every hoop ever thrown at me so why I am as a GP so "hated" by the media and DOH....even more than the Bankers who only got a few years of Bashing for collapsing the entire economy?????
    What the **** has gone wrong with society??

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  • The waters rising up the side of the titanic soon we will be Glug,Glug Glug(to late we are sunk)

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  • Dail Mail Headline....."Evil Bentley driving GPs leave sinking ship NHS quoffing Champers while living in their "Downton Abbey" houses....Blah Blah Blah.

    or Headline......"Stop the criminal GPs leaving, Waterboard any that threaten to resign"

    or various other drivel will be the response to this article eg
    Headline.. "Trade magazine PULSE" reports that GPs can't be bothered to work anymore now they are all multi-millionaires after conning the taxpayer with the "botched 2004" contract-note that The Daily Mail always reserves the word "Botched" only for GPs and 2004-not for any other stories-trust me I am a Doctor and notice every detail !!

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  • No one cares , and it's all going private it will be sold to a united health who will be paid by the tax payer much more then a GMS contract and the sad thing is they will be allowed to change as well
    Equality yeah right ., what I have said and hopefully I will get a job in a circus with a crystal ball long dreadlocks and be called Mandrake the Magician or better still Dr Strange .....they are marvel and comic characters so just incase any lovely politically minded trolls are on it's tongue in cheek know the saying I hope ....any resemblence to Anything living or deceased is purely coincidental

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  • I completely agree and feel the same as the 5.41 comment. You work hard at school, 4 As in A level, 6 years undergraduate studies, more and more postgraduate hoops, exams and stress. For what? Continuously bashed by politicians and the media. Increasing demand, responsibility and accountability. Medicine is a shattered dream.

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  • well done *unt
    well done nhse(national health sabotage executive)
    well done daily pus(with apologies if i insult pus...sorry pus)

    you will reap what you sow
    you will not be forgiven
    you have pursued your perverted secret agenda without democratic mandate.
    this is your handiwork.
    proud of yourselves now?

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  • Enough said...

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  • 'The LMC said it could ‘only speculate’ as to what the reasons were behind the exodus,'......I almost c##ped myself laughing

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  • The medical profession has sleep walked into this. It is about controlling and making doctors subservient.

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  • Took Early Retirement

    5.41- I felt similar myself; you have got it 101% right.

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