GP warn­ing as pa­tient num­bers grow rapidly

Solihull News - - NEWS -

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

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