Call for action on rural vacancies

GP vacancy levels in rural areas of England and Wales have increased, according to DoH figures.

The level of rural vacancies which lasted three months or longer in both countries was 1.6 per cent of the GP workforce this year, up 0.5 per cent on 2005.

This bucks the overall trend, which has vacancies falling, according to the 'GP Practices Vacancies Survey 2006', published last week.

The overall figure for England fell from 2.3 to 1.1 per cent and from 2 to 1.8 per cent in Wales.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the GPC, said: 'Greater efforts must be made to attract young GPs to rural areas and to ensure existing GPs are encouraged to stay in practice.'

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