Pulse editor Jaimie Kaffash writes to UK health ministers asking how they intend to mitigate surgery closures
Dear health secretary/minister,
I am the editor of Pulse, the biggest magazine for GPs. We have recently conducted a major investigation on GP practice closures, examining all the surgeries that had closed permanently – ie, where a GP surgery no longer stands at that postcode.
Across the UK, we found there were 474 practices that filled this criteria. As a result of these closures, 1.49m patients were displaced. In England, this amounted to 428 practices affecting at least 1.33m patients.
- For more than 40% of the 162 surgeries we identified triggers for, recruitment issues were the final straw for the practice;
- These surgeries had markedly smaller list sizes than average – a median list size of 2,738, compared with a median list size of 7,904 in England in 2020-21;
- They were in postcodes that had a markedly lower median deprivation score than other surgeries – a score of 3.81 compared with 4.41 (with 1 being most deprived and 10 being least deprived);
- 69% of practices that closed for good in England received lower funding per patient the last full financial year before they closed than the average funding for that financial year;
- A number of surgeries have closed with no other surgery within miles.
I am sure these findings would be of interest to you. I am happy to share our full data and methodology if you so wish. I would also love an opportunity to talk you through these findings, and discuss some ideas around how we can mitigate this and support GPs and patients alike.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Note: In addition to current health secretary Steve Barclay, this letter was also sent to Tim Farron, Baroness Eluned Morgan, Wes Streeting, Robin Swann and Humza Yousaf. It will also be sent to the new health secretary once the new Prime Minister has announced her Cabinet.