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One in 20 GPs considering closing their practice by spring 2015

One in 20 GPs is considering closing their practice by next spring, in the latest indication of the drastic measures the profession is planning to survive.

A Pulse survey of 564 GPs found 5% were considering handing their contracts back to NHS England within six months. 

Some 13% said they could not see their practices remaining viable beyond the next two years. One in 10 (12%) said they were considering applying for a temporary list closure, while 15% are thinking of shrinking their practice boundaries.

And many GPs admitted having to make staff cutbacks to stave off closure, with 16% considering redundancies among their administrative staff and 13% thinking of making cuts among clinical staff in the next six months.

GP leaders told Pulse the survey results were ‘sadly, all too common’ and that any emergency package for general practice may come too late for GPs who are at the ‘end of their tether’.

Data lowdown - December inforgraphic

Campaign continues

The figures come as Pulse continues to push for emergency support for struggling practices, as part of its ‘Stop Practice Closures’ ampaign.

The RCGP said in October that more than 500 practices in England could close within a year because of a ‘deepening crisis’ in GP recruitment and retention.

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said the results showed a reality that was ‘all too common now’. He said: ‘They reflect the growing workload pressures and real stresses that GPs are under. And it’s not a surprise that many GPs have reached the end of their tether.

‘The NHS Five Year Forward View was talking about stability of funding in the next two years and increased investment in primary care in the next five years. We need to see that much, much more quickly.’

Dr Agnelo Fernandes, a GP partner in Croydon, south London, said he would be handing his contract back because of a ‘serious loss of funding’.