As seven-day primary care looks set to be rolled out, over 200 London practices are struggling to recruit doctors or nurses, a local medical committee (LMC) survey reveals.
Worryingly, 43 practices in the capital are also considering terminating their contract within the next three years, affecting up to 420,000 patients.
Yesterday Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the Royal College of GPs, commented that Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state’s tough words on seven-day hospital care would “sound the alarm bells for hardworking GPs who fear we will be next in line,” and that it could “precipitate a mass exodus from the profession, and it is our patients who will bear the brunt.”
Nearly half of practice managers and GPs who responded to their workforce survey are trying to recruit and currently have vacancies.
Looking at the number of registered patients at these practices, between 256,000 and 420,000 patients could lose their practice if the surveyed practices terminate their contracts within the next three years. Even the lowest figure is larger than the entire registered patient population of boroughs such as Harrow, Islington or Westminster.
Similarly to Baker, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the chair of the British Medical Association’s GP’s committee, suggested recently at a LMC conference in London that David Cameron’s pledge to introduce extended opening hours should be “scrapped”.