Department of Health advisers have said there is ‘no real cause for concern’ over the jobs market for doctors, despite reports of vacancy rates doubling.
The Doctors and Dentists Review Board – whose annual pay reviews have been reinstated by the DH – admitted they did not have access to the most recent data, but concluded the retention and recruitment of doctors was unproblematic.
The DDRB’s 2012/13 report conceded there were some difficulties recruiting GPs in Scotland, but Pulse’s own analysis of 250 practices, published in January, showed that GP vacancy rates in England had doubled in 2011 to an average rate of 4.2%, compared with the NHS Information Centre’s figure of 2.1% for 2010.
The report says: ‘The increase in medical and dental staff and the current available vacancy rates for the different countries of the United Kingdom do not give us any real cause for concern on recruitment and retention grounds.’
But they called on all four UK health departments to ensure that the NHS Information Centre publishes ‘up-to-date vacancy information’ on GP and hospital doctor vacancies to allow it to judge the recruitment and retention position.
Dr John Hughes, a GP in Manchester and deputy chair of the GPC’s education, training and workforce subcommittee, said he was surprised at the DDRB’s views: ‘They’re obviously not listening to what people have been saying about pensions, or seen the exodus of GPs taking early retirement.’