Leeds GP crisis ‘deepening’ as survey reveals growing vacancy issues

Dr Richard Vautrey, of the Leeds Local Medical Committee, has voiced fears over GP recruitment and retention issues in the city.
Dr Richard Vautrey, of the Leeds Local Medical Committee, has voiced fears over GP recruitment and retention issues in the city.
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A Leeds medical group has warned that “alarm bells should be ringing” over a survey that has revealed the extent of the GP recruitment crisis.

Three quarters of GP practices in Leeds that responded to a survey by the Leeds Local Medical Committee (LMC) reported having GP vacancies in the last year – up 25 per cent on 2014.

More than a fifth of those vacancies have been unfilled for one year or more, backing up fears of a growing shortage of GPs which it is claimed is down to workload pressures, red tape and decreasing NHS funding.

The findings, which show almost half the 40 practices that responded feel they don’t have enough GP sessions to meet demand, come after the British Medical Association warned in April that 5,000 GPs nationally plan to retire by 2020.

Dr Richard Vautrey, assistant medical secretary at the LMC, said: “Alarm bells should be ringing when cities like Leeds are struggling to retain and recruit enough GPs to meet the growing needs of patients. This deepening recruitment crisis is undermining the quality of care practices can offer.”

He said there is an “urgent need” to address issues like workloads and bureacracy that are “putting off” young doctors.

The survey by the LMC, which represents local GPs, was responded to by over a third of Leeds GP practices – of those, 38 per cent expect some of their GPs to leave within a year.

Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to recruit an extra 5,000 GPs by 2020.

A Health Education England spokeswoman said GP numbers are increasing, while it is working with partners to “make sure we have a skilled, trained and motivated workforce”.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman said too many older people are suffering in silence.

Elderly “suffering in silence” when hospital care goes wrong