The Crisis of General Practice UK
Recent media reports have estimated that over 500 General Practices have closed in England and Wales since 2009/2010 and that for every 5 practices closed, only one new practice opens. Closures have largely been due to funding or recruitment problems but the crisis in services has prompted Pulse to start the campaign “Stop Practice Closures”.
Dr Poulter Health Minister emphasised that these latest figures ‘also include practice mergers and takeovers and do not provide an accurate representation of activity or service provision’, adding: ‘In many cases, practices listed in these figures as having closed, will have in fact merged and will continue to see patients.’ However GPC negotiator Dr Beth McCarron-Nash said: ‘It is stark. I think that general practice is in crisis and need urgent negotiated solutions and obviously we continue to lobby NHS England and the Department of Health to address the fundamental problems that GPs are facing.’
‘There has been no premises investment since 2004, there is constant change to the NHS, including the hand grenade that has been the Health and Social Care Act, a disinvestment in GP practice, a disinvestment in the contract and the fact that they have not had a national workforce strategy to actually solve the fact that over 25% of GPs are over the age of 50, and that along with the catastrophic changes to the NHS pensions scheme.’
‘I think all of this is a perfect storm for a GP to say “listen, I’ve had enough”, and the other thing I’ve missed off the list is the increasing levels of bureaucracy, such as the CQC etc.’
It is also predicted that the traditional GP model of partnership will be gone within 10 years and alternative models of primary care evolved with the majority of primary care physicians salaried.