GP warning as patient numbers grow rapidly
THE number of patients at GPs in Solihull and Birmingham has grown by nearly 15,000 in the last year – with doctors warning there was now an “obvious imbalance” between demand and resources.
Figures published by NHS Digital showed there were 1,317,891 people registered with doctors in the region at the start of this month.
That is up from 1,303,028 the same time last year – a rise of 14,863, or 1.1 per cent, in just 12 months.
The rise has been fuelled by an increase in younger people registered with a GP.
In particular, the number of people in their 30s who were signed up with a local doctor rose from 190,001 last November to 194,764 this month.
Doctors said rising patient numbers came at a time when they already faced problems with recruitment – as well as ever- growing expectations in terms of opening hours and services.
The government pledged in 2015 to recruit an extra 5,000 GPs to reduce the workload on stretched staff. It says it is working hard to train up more family doctors, and is spending £ 100 million on a recruitment campaign targeting people from overseas.
But data published earlier this year suggested as many as 15.8 per cent of GP posts are currently vacant.
Dr Richard Vautrey, GP committee chair of the British Medical Association, said: “For over a decade there has been an obvious imbalance between the level of demand and amount of resources available.
“It’s therefore vital that a significant proportion of the additional £ 20 billion promised for the NHS should be invested in general practice.”
Dr Richard Vautrey