GPs demand 'immediate action' as Hunt pledges workforce review

GP leaders have demanded 'immediate action' to tackle the workforce crisis, after the health secretary announced plans for an independent review of GP numbers that will run until next summer.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul: immediate action to support GP workforce (Photo: JH Lancy)
Dr Chaand Nagpaul: immediate action to support GP workforce (Photo: JH Lancy)

Speaking at the RCGP conference in Harrogate on Thursday, health secretary Jeremy Hunt acknowledged the shortage of GPs.

He announced that Health Education England would lead an independent study of what was needed in terms of GP workforce, area by area, across the country.

Video: Jeremy Hunt's RCGP speech in full

But GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said that although it was ‘encouraging’ to hear Mr Hunt recognise the shortage of GPs, the profession needed ‘urgent action now’.

Dr Nagpaul said: ‘We would be happy to work collaboratively with the independent review to ensure that we get accurate, reliable figures on the numbers of GPs we need to both cope with the current and future patient demand.

‘However, while we await the review, we have an urgent need to address the fact that GP practices are currently at breaking point trying to cope with rising patient demand, falling resources, a shortage of GPs and policymakers’ desire to move more work into the community.
‘We need urgent action now to manage escalating demand on GP practices, and offer tangible support to practices.’

Review must plan ahead

Dr Nagpaul pointed warned the review must factor in the impact of work moving out of hospitals, ageing populations and plans to extend GP opening hours.

‘We must plan for a GP workforce based on future requirements, not just to stand still today,’ he said.

‘The workforce trend currently is heading in the opposite direction - general practice is also failing to attract new recruits because of the real pressures it is under, with more than 400 training posts left vacant this year and seven out of 10 GPs telling a recent BMA survey they were considering early retirement.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

GP consulting room

Nine in ten GPs fear their practice will struggle to cope this winter

Nearly nine in ten GPs fear that their practice will struggle to cope this winter,...

BMA sign

BMA elects new deputy chair of England GP committee and chair of Scottish council

Dr David Wrigley has been elected as new deputy chair of the BMA's GP committee in...

UK money

Almost half of practices say income from private fees has fallen in past year

Almost half of GP practices have seen their income from private and professional...

COVID-19 vaccination centre

BMA raises 'serious concerns' about GP workload and funding for autumn COVID boosters

The BMA has raised 'serious concerns' about the workload implications of this autumn's...

Vaccines

Monkeypox jabs will run out by next week, UKHSA says

The UK is likely to run out of smallpox vaccine stocks which it is using to protect...

NHS sign outside a building

Two Midlands hospitals end partnerships with Babylon

Two NHS trusts have prematurely severed their relationships with digital health provider,...