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Some areas of England needing more than 50% boost to GP numbers, claims RCGP



RCGP has warned of a crucial shortage of GPs across England which it claimed will see many areas needing more than a 50% boost in GP numbers in five years.

Its analysis, based on the latest Patient Survey statistics, also claimed that patients will be waiting more than a week to see a GP or practice nurse on 67 million occasions already in 2015.

Bexley in southeast London came out as the neediest CCG area based on the RCGP calculation, requiring an uplift of 87% in the number of full-time equivalent GPs working there in the next five years, followed by Redbridge in east London, which needs 85% more, and Swale in Kent, needing 74%.

In all, 16 areas will need at least a 50% increase of full-time equivalent GPs including parts of Kent, Yorkshire, Essex, Berkshire and the Midlands, the college claimed.

The RCGP, which has previously called for 10,000 more GPs by 2022 , said the huge increase in the need for GPs was driven by the growing population.

RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said all political parties were now ‘increasingly understanding’ that sufficient numbers of GPs are ‘key to ensuring that the NHS is sustainable for the future’.

For example, the Government most recently acknowledged the GP workforce challenge by launching a £10m, 10-point plan to boost GP recruitment and retention.

Dr Baker said: ‘We have only one chance to deliver 8,000 GPs over the course of the next Parliament. The 10-point workforce plan recently launched by NHS England and Health Education England gives us a real opportunity to build up the GP workforce that the nation needs and it is vital that politicians and our partner organisations work with us to make this happen.

‘Only through properly resourcing and supporting general practice can we ensure that patients receive the care that they want and need in the community. Our patients deserve access to excellent GP care and services wherever in the country they live. Today’s figures show how critical it is to act now if we are to have enough GPs to meet all our patients’ needs over the next five years.’

The Labour Party has promised to pay for the recruitment of 8,000 new GPs if it is in Government for the next five-year period, while the Conservatives have promised 5,000.

Only last week health minister Dr Dan Poulter expressed doubts over claims there is a GP recruitment crisis but Pulse revealed NHS England has even begun advertising in GP press overseas to attract returners from Australia.

Areas RCGP claims will need the largest percentage increase of GPs within five years:

  • Bexley will need an uplift of 87% (83 additional full time equivalent GPs)
  • Redbridge will need an uplift of 85% (106 additional FTE GPs)
  • Swale will need an uplift of 74% (36 additional FTE GPs)
  • Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley will need an uplift of 67% (76 additional FTE GPs)
  • North Kirklees will need an uplift of 60% (52 additional FTE GPs)
  • Slough will need an uplift of 59% (41 additional FTE GPs)
  • Warrington will need an uplift of 57% (55 additional FTE GPs)
  • Corby will need an uplift of 57% (18 additional FTE GPs)
  • Luton will need an uplift of 56% (58 additional FTE GPs)
  • Barking and Dagenham will need an uplift of 56% (56 additional FTE GPs)

And the areas needing the greatest increase in GPs in terms of actual numbers within five years:

  • Nene will need 165 additional FTE GPs (an uplift of 55%)
  • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will need 132 additional full time equivalent GPs (an uplift of 26%)
  • East and North Hertfordshire will need 126 additional FTE GPs (an uplift of 44%)
  • Birmingham Crosscity will need 122 additional full time equivalent GPs (an uplift of 29%)
  • West Kent will need 114 additional FTE GPs (an uplift of 48%)
  • West Hampshire will need 109 additional FTD GPs (an uplift of 37%)
  • Herts Valleys will need 108 additional FTE GPs (an uplift of 33%)
  • Redbridge will need 106 additional FTE GPs (an uplift of 85%)
  • Dorset will need 105 additional full time equivalent GPs (an uplift of 23%)
  • Gloucestershire will need 105 additional full time equivalent GPs (an uplift of 31%)

Source: RCGP

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