Pulse’s annual UK-wide survey of GP vacancy rates – the best measure in the absence of any official data on practice vacancies – has revealed that around 12% of all GP posts in the UK are vacant, the highest proportion ever recorded.
The GPC said workload pressures on GPs were pushing up vacancy rates and reiterated its call for NHS England to allow practices to close their lists. Chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘The pressures of being a permanent GP are such that people are leaving in droves to become salaried GPs or locums.’
GPs told Pulse they have had to recruit additional nursing staff as they have been unable to attract GPs.
Essex GP Dr Hannah Casey said: ‘I am now a locum. We handed back our contract last year after failing to recruit. I am not surprised by this increase and can only see the situation getting worse. We had already replaced a GP with two nurse practitioners and a physician assistant. However, you still need GPs.’
Dr Catherine Smith, a GP in Keighley, Yorkshire, said: ‘I’m not surprised [about vacancy rates increasing]. We have recruited ANPs and pharmacists as there are no GPs.’
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