A GP surgery in rural Cornwall has managed to recruit a new GP, after its town organised a flash mob and produced a music video to attract new doctors to the area.
Residents of Lostwithiel, in South East Cornwall, had set up a campaign earlier this year and created their own recruitment song and video to attract new GPs, after one of the partners at the town’s practice decided to retire.
The song and video, which aimed to persuade GPs to relocate and ‘make a long-term commitment to community’, were released on social media and received nationwide attention.
Dr Bethan Woodfield, originally from Lostwithiel, applied for the job after her family saw the music video, and was offered the role.
She told Pulse: ‘I grew up in Lostwithiel and when the video came out my mum sent it to me, I was living in Manchester at the time.
‘When the video first came out I still was on maternity leave and my husband was tied to his job – so it wasn’t really the time, I thought that would be a lovely job, it would be amazing but I thought “whoever gets that is really lucky”.
‘A couple of months later I went back to work, and my husband’s circumstances changed with his work and I just thought I would see if the job was still available – and it was.
‘It’s a lovely community and a very patient-centred practice, and everyone looks after each other.’
The song had also aimed at showing that the community is understanding about the stresses and strains that GPs are currently facing and highlighted the natural beauty and cultural backdrop of the town.
Dr Woodfield said she was really surprised that the community had to go to such extent to find a new GP.
She added: ‘It’s such a beautiful place to live – but the challenges of working in a rural practice include the fact that you are a good 45 minutes away from a hospital in either direction, so I feel that we deal with a bit more risk.
‘All practices are struggling with recruitment at the moment for a multitude of reasons and rural areas in particular are hit harder because it is more difficult to relocate.’
Last week, a local council decided to ask the Government for help to fund housing for GPs, in a bid to encourage them to relocate to its under-doctored area.
In August, a Pulse survey found that nearly one in five GP positions in the UK are unfilled according to a Pulse survey, the highest since the data has been collected.