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LMCs declare ‘state of emergency’ amid chronic shortage of GPs

London GP leaders have declared a ‘state of emergency’ amid a chronic shortage of GPs, as a third of GP practices in in the capital are missing at least one GP.

Londonwide LMCs chief executive Dr Michelle Drage warned that increasing pressures were ‘causing people to leave in their droves’ and were responsible for the dramatic drop in GP numbers, revealed in a new workforce survey.

The Londonwide LMCs survey found that almost half GP practices in London are short at least one member of staff and 39 practices in the capital are considering handing back the keys within the next three years.

Meanwhile, the numbers of doctors applying to London training schemes decreased in comparison with the rest of the country in 2015 and a significant number are leaving the capital once they have completed their GP training, further compounding shortages, the LMCs warned.

They highlighted that this comes as London’s population is growing, expected to increase to 10 million by 2030, and a steady rise in the average number of consultations per patient, from 3.9 in 1995 to 8.3 in 2015.

Dr Drage said: ‘Patients risk losing their GPs unless pressures on general practice are dramatically eased. Between bean counting, over inspection and rising indemnity fees London general practice has had enough.

’Unless GPs push back against non-core demand and focus on what’s immediately necessary for care, there’s a real risk that we’re not only letting down ourselves, but also our patients.’

Her warning follows that of GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul ad the Special LMC Conference in Janaury, where he warned that general practice was not only in a state of emergency but also unsafe for patients.

In response to the crisis, Londonwide said it was providing advice to struggling practices including on better cash flow management, the ability to safely decline inappropriate work, and freeing up more appointments via alternative prescribing.