Mass ex­o­dus of GPs fore­cast as a care cri­sis looms

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Spotlight On Rail -

Forty per­cent of GPs in Kent are plan­ning to leave gen­eral prac­tice in the next five years.

A sur­vey of 250 surg­eries in the county found half of re­spon­dents feel they are work­ing in “in­ad­e­quate premises”.

The study, car­ried out by the Kent Lo­cal Med­i­cal Com­mit­tee (LMC), said the ma­jor­ity of GPs were plan­ning to re­tire, but warned younger re­cruits were not re­plac­ing them in the num­bers re­quired.

The sur­vey also showed half of re­spon­dents al­ready have a prac­tice va­cancy for a GP and 40% have yet to fill un­oc­cu­pied po­si­tions for one or more nurses.

The alarm­ing fig­ures come amid an ex­pected pop­u­la­tion in­crease of 5.4% in Kent and Med­way by 2021, mean­ing GP ser­vices will come un­der more pres­sure.

It is also an­tic­i­pated the num­ber of peo­ple aged over 65 will rise by 25% dur­ing the same pe­riod.

Of the 343 GPs who re­sponded to the sur­vey, 32.94% worked in west Kent, 14.87% in Can­ter­bury and nearby coastal ar­eas, 11.95% in Dart­ford, Grave­sham and Swan­ley, 9.91% in Med­way, 4.66% in Swale, 12.24% along the south Kent coast, 8.16% in Thanet, and 5.25% in Ash­ford.

The LMC, which acts as a voice for GPs, said there was a mis- match be­tween the re­al­ity and the gov­ern­ment’s ob­jec­tives to have an 8am to 8pm ser­vice.

“Seventy per­cent of re­spon­dents con­sider their cur­rent work­load to be un­man­age­able and 90% con­sider this work­load to have a neg­a­tive im­pact on the qual­ity of pa­tient care.

“How can this be sus­tained over ad­di­tional hours?

“Any pro­posed gains in ap­point­ments face be­ing over­whelmed by the in­evitable destruc­tion of con­ti­nu­ity of care.”

The LMC added gov­ern­ment prom­ises to in­crease GP num­bers were not be­ing met, ac­cord- ing to lat­est fig­ures for Gen­eral Prac­tice, which show a de­crease in full time equiv­a­lent GP num­bers of 0.3%.

It called for pa­tients to cam­paign through their MP for in­creased fund­ing to im­prove GP ser­vices and urge them to pro­mote the de­vel­op­ment of a med­i­cal school in Kent to at­tract more young med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als to the area.

What do you think? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford, TN24 8JR or email ken­tish­ex­press@thek­m­group.co.uk

Un­der pres­sure - alarm­ing fig­ures re­port 40% of GPs will leave in the next five years

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