GP recruitment crisis forces collapse of 18,000-patient practice in Wales

An 18,000-patient practice in north Wales has become one of the largest in the UK to go under because of the growing GP recruitment crisis.

Dr David Bailey
Dr David Bailey

Partners at the Pendyffryn Medical Centre in Prestatyn have been forced to hand in their resignations after finding it impossible to recruit enough GPs to keep the practice going.

GPC Wales deputy chairman Dr David Bailey said the practice was 'certainly the largest in Wales' to go under, and warned that if the practice could not be maintained by the area's health board its closure would have a huge knock-on impact on others in the surrounding area.

GPonline reported earlier this year on a practice in Mid-Wales where partners had been forced to hand back their contract. Around 10 practice in Wales are now run directly by local health boards.

He warned that unless the trend that has seen GP income fall 25% in real terms since the 2004 GP contract could be reversed, the profession would continue to struggle with recruitment.

GP recruitment crisis

A joint statement from the GP practice and the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said: 'Pendyffryn Medical Group have given notice that they will be terminating their contract with the health board on 31 March 2016.  This means that from April 2016, the Pendyffryn Medical Group partnership will no longer be the provider of GP and primary care services.

'The health board is responsible for making sure that people in North Wales have access to these services.  It is therefore working closely with Pendyffryn Medical Practice to plan how their patients will continue to get the local services that they need from April 2016 onwards.'

The board said it would support staff at the practice and keep patients informed about plans over the coming six months.

Dr Bailey told GPonline that the practice now had only four GPs left out of eight or nine needed to run it.  'They can’t recruit, and the remaining partners can’t cope. They are a training practice, with nice premises, but just can’t recruit.

'They have been advertising for 12 to 18 months to get a GP. Earnings weren’t an issue - it is a well-organised large practice where earnings would be at least the Welsh average or better. It is not a rubbish practice - standards are excellent - but they just can’t get anyone new to work there.'

Photo: Ray Farley

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