GP surgery closures may jeopardise patient care, RCGP warns

3 October 2014

GP surgery closures may jeopardise patient care, RCGP warns

The Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Dr Maureen Baker has warned that a “workforce crisis” amongst GP surgeries may jeopardise patient health and safety in the future.

With the age of many doctors in the UK increasing, it has been revealed that GP surgeries are at risk of closing en masse, unless younger, equally-qualified replacements are found. If these practices are closed, and the GP’s are not replaced by a younger, newly qualified workplace, health and safety of patients may be jeopardised.

Mistreatment.com has seen how lack of access to GPs can jeopardise patient care outcomes with patients unable to receive the treatment they sometimes urgently need. This can lead to further health complications and place the possibility of a quick recovery from illness at risk.

Speaking to the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Baker explained:

"We do have a workforce crisis in general practice. We've been losing GPs, we are losing GPs and we're not recruiting enough doctors into the profession."

The RCGP has released figures which show that while 8,000 doctors’ surgeries are currently open in the UK, 543 could be shut within the next year, buckling due to the fact that most of the GPs there (aged 60 and over) will be retiring in the near future.

More worryingly, more than 1,000 doctors are expected to leave the profession each year by 2022. This is offset by the fact that the number of unfilled GP vacancies continues to rise, from 2.1 &% in 2010 to a stark 7.9% in 2013.

The GP shortage levels range throughout the UK. In the North-west, there are 63.4 doctors per 100,000 people, while in the north-east the figure is 63.6 doctors for the same number. In London, meanwhile, 22% of doctors are estimated to step down from their posts within the next 5 years with over 40% of those doctors aged 50 and above.

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