Exclusive: Third of practice vacancies unfilled for over a year

More than one in three vacancies at GP practices have remained unfilled for a year or more, a GPonline survey has revealed.

Consultation room: GP practices unable to fill vacancies (Photo: Robert Johns/UNP)
Consultation room: GP practices unable to fill vacancies (Photo: Robert Johns/UNP)

The shocking new figures provide further evidence of the deepening workforce crisis in general practice

Almost half of the 541 GPs who took part in a GPonline survey said their practice has a current vacancy for a GP partner, salaried GP, practice nurse, pharmacist, physician associate or practice manager. A third of these posts had been open for more than 12 months.

One in six practices overall had been trying to recruit either a salaried GP or partner for six months or more.

Of those who said they are currently trying to recruit, 44% are looking for a GP partner and 68% for a salaried doctor.

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Over 31% of respondents trying to recruit a new partner have been looking for a year or more, the GPonline survey found.

One GP said: ‘Advertised recently for two part-time salaried posts. Despite more than 1,000 hits on the NHS website we got two applications.

Another added: ‘There is just no interest in joining a partnership now due to pay reduction, increased workload and general pressure on GPs.’

Read more GPonline coverage on the GP workforce crisis

A total of 10% of GPs and practice managers said they are currently trying to recruit a pharmacist or physician associate. Over a third (34%) said they have a current practice nurse vacancy.

Earlier this month health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced plans to recruit 5,000 more practice nurses, district nurses, physicians’ associates and pharmacists on top of the 5,00 new GPs promised before the election.

Announcing the new deal for GPs, Mr Hunt revealed plans for a national marketing campaign in association with the RCGP to attract new recruits to the profession.

A joint NHS England, HEE, BMA and RCGP ten point plan to tackle the workforce crisis is being implemented which aims to improve recruitment, retention, and return.

An independent commission on primary care workforce chaired by professor Martin Roland, established by HEE and commissioned by the government is due to report in July.

* Click here for staff management and recruitment advice from Medeconomics.co.uk

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