The NHS faces a future funding crisis because not enough doctors and nurses are being recruited to replace the large number who are due for retirement. An investigation into blueprints for the NHS around the country reveals scant planning as almost 40 per cent of GPs approach retirement. The problem may be made worse by the Government’s plans to reorganise the NHS, with some areas seeking to reduce the number of GPs on the books, others expecting GPs to only see the most complex patients with minor ailments dealt with by pharmacists, and at least one hiring lesser-qualified “care navigators” and physician associates to deal with some patients.
A record number of GP practices closed last year, forcing thousands of patients to find a new surgery, in spite of government attempts to stop local doctors shutting their doors.
NHS England data showed nearly a hundred practices closed in 2016, a 114% increase in GP closures compared with figures from 2014. Of the 92 practices that shut, 58 did so completely, while 34 merged with other local surgeries in order to pool resources.
When Rosemary Street Health Centre and Oak Tree Lane Surgery merged in 2014 there were 4 GP Partners, 3 full time Salaried GPs and an abundance of Registrars. Due to the patient list size increase at approximately 70 patients per month, and the decrease in GPs from 7 in 2014 to 3 whole time equivalent at the present time, there is no longer the GP capacity to cover both sites.
The present GPs have been struggling to keep both sites open since Dr Ghosh retired in January 2014 and Dr Primorac left in October 2015. We have recently been hit even harder as 3 of our salaried GPs have also resigned. We have successfully appointed Dr Hill for 2 days a week and Dr Lovett for 1 day a week, however, the failure to recruit to all the vacant posts is not due to lack of attempts made by the Practice, it is due to the national crisis in GP Recruitment which has been on-going for the past four years. Please see an article below from Pulse, June 2016 –
Pulse’s annual UK-wide survey of GP vacancy rates – the best measure in the absence of any official data on practice vacancies – has revealed that around 12% of all GP posts in the UK are vacant, the highest proportion ever recorded.
The GPC said workload pressures on GPs were pushing up vacancy rates and reiterated its call for NHS England to allow practices to close their lists. Chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘The pressures of being a permanent GP are such that people are leaving in droves to become locums.’
Unless we are up to our optimum for GPs by September the risk of closing Oak Tree Lane surgery is very high. To try to reduce this risk, drastic change must take place now while we continue to attempt the recruitment of more GPs.
We will continue to engage with the Mansfield and Ashfield Clinical Commissioning Group partnership with Primary Care People who are endeavouring to recruit GPs from overseas, and also the NHS Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit with their Targeted Investment in Recruiting Returning Doctors Scheme.
In addition to this Dr Smith is actively promoting Primary Care positions to Junior Doctors at the weekly Vocational Training Scheme and we will continue to offer “taster days” within the practice.
We are encouraging our patients to provide us with their views on the reduction and have also involved our Patient Participation Group (PPG) in consultations regarding the impact on our less mobile patients from Oak Tree Lane.
In order to ensure appointments remain available we will be opening Rosemary Street Health Centre from 07:00 to 19:00 Monday to Friday and Saturday from 08:30 to 13:00.
The remaining appointments available at Oak Tree Lane Surgery will be reserved for those patients who cannot travel to Rosemary Street Health Centre.
The following shows the phased reduction in opening times for Oak Tree Lane Surgery while we attempt to recruit more GPs in order to increase opening times ready for the winter demand.
July 2017 – No afternoon appointments
Appointments Monday – Friday 08:00 – 12:00
Reception Services Thursday 08:00 – 12:00
Reception Services Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri 08:00 – 18:30
August 2017 – Closed Tuesdays and Thursdays
Appointments Monday, Wednesday & Friday 08:00 – 12:00
Receptionist Services Monday & Wednesday 08:00 – 18:30
Receptionist Services Friday 08:00 – 12:00
September 2017 – Closed Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays
Appointments Monday & Wednesday 08:00 – 12:00
Reception Services Monday & Wednesday 08:00 – 18:30
The following link gives you an opportunity to voice your opinion and also give your recommendations for any other solutions you feel have not been explored –
As the previous Practice Manager of Oak Tree Lane Surgery since 2010 and the present Practice Manager of both sites since 2014 I am desperate to keep the Forest Medical branch site open and appreciate all of your support throughout this period of crisis.