Five thousand new GPs by 2020! That was a promise made before the last general election. Unfortunately it is a promise that looks like being broken as figures show, at the current rate of GP recruitment, the actual figure may be far lower. It is also a figure that, even if attained, will fall a long way short of what will be needed.
The BMA has raised concerns about the rate of new GPs being recruited; it is simply inadequate to meet the growing demands of the population. The RCGP has predicted the closure of around 600 practices due to a shortfall of around 10,000 GPs nationwide by the year 2020. They estimate that “GPs carry out 1.3m consultations per day across the UK, the college said, with workload up 16% over the past seven years. But the number of full-time equivalent GPs has fallen from 35,990 in 2013/14 to 35,589 today.”
Shortages are especially severe in the more economically deprived areas of the country. GP recruitment is a marketplace like any other and, with a shortage of doctors around the country; they are choosing areas that will present a less challenging workload. This is resulting in longer waiting lists, with patients sometimes having to wait 3-4 weeks for less urgent cases to be attended to while doctors “firefight” the cases that need more urgent attention. In that time the easily treated conditions can become more acute.
Until GP recruitment levels rise to meet the growing demand, the slack in surgeries across the country is being taken up by an army of locums. In fact, some surgeries are reported as being entirely staffed by locums.
Patients shouldn’t feel like they are receiving second class levels of care, like some in the media might suggest. Locum GPs are qualified and experienced doctors whose passion for their vocation and dedication to patient care is just as strong as any other GP.
The benefits of becoming a locum doctor and signing up with MBI Medical are obvious:
Contact MBI Medical today and put your experience to work for the country’s health.
Thursday Jan 5, 2017