This site is intended for health professionals only

Practice faces staffing issues after potholes stop locum GPs travelling to work

A GP practice in Shropshire has faced staffing issues after potholes on local roads prevented it from being able to secure locum cover.

Staff at Highley Medical Centre near Bridgnorth sent an email to the village county councillor asking for help with fixing the road because ‘locums were refusing to travel’ on it.

Councillor Dave Tremellen told the Shropshire Star: ‘I received an email from the assistant practice manager asking for help in sorting out the Highley to Bridgnorth Road because believe it or not, locums were refusing to travel to Highley due to the state of the road and a few of them had hit potholes.

‘I was stunned. I knew from the public meeting I called last year about the difficulties facing our surgery that there was a problem getting locum cover because we are a fairly remote rural surgery, but had no idea it had got so bad.’

Councillor Tremellen, who is also chair of the local patients’ group, told Pulse that the practice has been facing difficulties for some time.

He said: ‘It got so difficult at one time to get cover on the front desk. They employed someone local to do it, but because of the pressure on the surgery, there was difficulty getting appointments.

‘People were going up to the surgery and threatening people. This is how desperate it gets.’

He added that the practice then had to rely on people from outside the village after the local staff they employed left, but that the state of the roads had made this difficult.

Highley Medical Centre has 3,200 patients on its list and is ‘critical to the village’ because the two closest surgeries are around seven miles away and ‘neither are taking on any more of Highley’s patients’, Councillor Tremellen added.

In September, patients in Shrewsbury held a vigil for another Shropshire practice that was closing after the CCG was unable to find a bidder for the contract.