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One in ten London practices face closure in the next three years

Half of London’s GP practices currently have unfilled vacancies for GPs and practice nurses, while 70% anticipate a GP retiring imminently, a Londonwide LMCs report has found.

Of the 431 practices that responded to the survey, 43 said they were considering handing back their contract as a result of a retirement in the next three years, adding to the 18 closures that the Health and Social Care Information Centre said have closed in the capital in the past year.

It found that 202 have been unable to fill positions, due to the ongoing recruitment crisis and financial uncertainty.

Dr Michelle Drage, Londonwide LMCs’ chief executive said: “We have seen massively increased demand at the doors of all our general practices. The community, social and mental health services which used to support GPs have been dramatically reduced as we try to handle all the multiple conditions that accompany our diverse, often deprived, highly mobile and ageing society in the face of a diminishing workforce. To be meaningful and have an impact, finance must first be made available up-front to allow GPs to manage existing workload.”

She added: ‘We need over 1.5m more GP hours to deal with current demand, let alone new initiatives and schemes.’

Pulse launched the Stop Practice Closures campaign last year, which calls on the Government and commissioners to provide support to practices in danger of closure.