London faces GP crisis as scores of practices face closure

Up to 150 GP practices in London could close in the next three years, a survey suggests.

London: one in 10 of the capital's practices face closure (Photo: Julian Dodd)
London: one in 10 of the capital's practices face closure (Photo: Julian Dodd)

A Londonwide LMCs survey of 431 practices in the capital found that one in 10 expect a GP to retire within three years and that they were considering terminating their GP contract as a result.

London has a total of around 1,500 practices, and the loss of a tenth of these would be a huge blow at a time when Londonwide LMCs warns that practices face 'massively increased demand'.

Recruitment of new GPs is proving increasingly tough for GP practices. A recent GPonline poll found one in six practices had been trying to recruit a partner or salaried GP for six months or more.

GP recruitment crisis

The Londonwide poll also found that practices were struggling to replace GPs and other practice staff. A total of 47% of practices said they currently have unfilled vacancies for GPs and practice nurses.

Many more practices than those considering closure - 70% of respondents in total - expect a GP to retire within three years. The finding reflects the results of a huge BMA poll that suggested a third of GPs could quit within five years.

Londonwide LMCs chief executive Dr Michelle Drage said: 'We have seen massively increased demand at the doors of all our general practices. The community, social and mental health services which used to support GPs have been dramatically reduced as we try to handle all the multiple conditions that accompany our diverse, often deprived, highly mobile and ageing society in the face of a diminishing workforce. To be meaningful and have an impact, finance must first be made available up-front to allow GPs to manage existing workload.

'We need over 1.5m more GP hours to deal with current demand, let alone new initiatives and schemes.'

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