The “dramatic reduction” of local GP support is one of the reasons more practices have requested closing their lists, a Local Medical Committee (LMC) leader has said in response to the news that 100 more practices requested list closures in 2014/15.
Michelle Drage, chief executive of Londonwide LMCs responded: “The dramatic reduction of community, social and mental health services, which used to support GPs has led to GPs having more consultations, less time with patients and patients waiting longer for appointments as we try to handle all of the conditions that accompany our diverse, often deprived, highly mobile and ageing patients in the face of a diminishing workforce.”
“The capital’s practices face increasing demand from patients, many of whom have multiple or long-term illnesses, and are working at full capacity to provide appointments, with over-stretched practice staff and locums working extra shifts in the face of high rates of staff vacancies,” she added.
In the latest survey of 431 London practices, the LMC found that 47% of surgeries had GP or nurse vacancies.
Nearly two thirds (60%) of practices did not have a succession plan in place where a GP is planning on retiring in the next three years, and 83% are considering terminating their GP contract, the poll revealed.
If the practices considering termination went ahead, a mean of 338,000 patients could lose their current GP.
“Even the lowest figure is larger than the entire registered patient population of boroughs such as Harrow, Islington or Westminster,” the LMC stated.
Drage called on any London practices who feel under pressure to close their list to contact the LMC’s GP support team for advice and support.