Half of practices have GP vacancies, LMC finds

Half of all practices in Leeds have had at least one GP vacancy in the past year, with almost a fifth unable to recruit, according to an LMC survey.

Dr Richard Vautrey: GP vacancy warning (Photo: JH Lancy)

The results are further evidence of the workforce crisis in general practice.

GPC deputy chairman and assistant medical secretary at Leeds LMC, Dr Richard Vautrey, said the crisis was hitting practices in deprived communities.

The survey of 41 practices across Leeds found:

  • Just over 50% of practices responding to the survey had a GP vacancy in the last year and 17% have failed to recruit.
  • Almost 32% of respondents do not have enough GP sessions in their practice to meet their patients’ needs.
  • Almost 27% of respondents expect some of their GPs to leave the practice in the next 12 months and 63% expect some of their GPs to leave in the next five years.
  • 46% of practices responding to the survey had a practice nurse vacancy in the last year and almost 44% are currently short of nurse clinical sessions.
  • 78% of respondent practices are finding it either more difficult to get a locum when required or are not always able to find a locum.

Dr Vautrey said: ‘Leeds is a thriving city which historically has had little difficulty in attracting and retaining GPs. However the growing GP workforce crisis is clearly having an impact on local practices too, and in particular those who service the most deprived communities in the city.

‘It’s no wonder that growing numbers of patients are struggling to get a timely appointment despite the hard work of GPs and their staff to cope with increasing demand.

Call for investment

He added: ‘There is an urgent need for significant and sustained investment in core practice funding and for the government to talk up and value general practice, so that practices not only have the resources to take on more GPs and nurses but that there is an increase in the number of doctors and nurses choosing general practice as a career.’

In July a national survey by GP found a third of practices had at least one vacancy, and one in six of those have been unable to fill a post for more than a year.

Following an unprecedented third round of trainee recruitment this year, 12% of places remained unfilled.

The government has mandated Health Education England to increase the number of trainees opting for general practice to 3,250 a year by 2016, equivalent to half of all medical trainees.

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