Recruiting new GPs into the sector is becoming increasingly difficult and it is estimated that 600 GPs could face closure by 2020.
The 600 GP practices that appear to be under threat of closure by 2020 have at least 3 out of 4 of their GP staff are over the age of 55. Too few new doctors are choosing the GP route as an area in which they would like to specialise. Latest estimates claim that there will be a shortfall of 10,000 doctors by 2020.
GPs currently make 1.3m consultations daily and their workload has increased by 16% over the past seven years. This is only expected to rise further with the gap in numbers recruited into the profession increasing.
The Royal College of GPs has launched a campaign which seeks to persuade aspiring doctors to ‘Think GP’. It seeks to paint the profession as an interesting and challenging career choice where doctors have the ability to build real longstanding relationships with their patients. Dr Maureen Baker, RCGP chairwoman said: –
“’It is imperative that we recruit huge numbers of medical students and foundation doctors into general practice in order to keep the NHS on its feet. If we fail, there will be too few GPs to go round, practices will close, and patient safety in general practice will clearly be at risk. General practice is the cornerstone of the NHS, with 90% of patient contacts in the health service being conducted by family doctors and their teams.”
For the health of our nation and reducing the strain on other parts of the NHS it is hoped that this message is successfully communicated to those joining the doctor’s profession.