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3rd January 2020

GP Shortages

The Times highlights crisis

Following the new Government's pledge to invest more into the NHS, The Times published a series of articles over Christmas, highlighting the workforce crisis in general practices. In response to this a letter Richard Vautrey wrote to The Times and said: "Your important investigation (“One doctor for 11,000 patients in GP shortage”, Dec 21) underlines the crisis in general practice that my colleagues and I at the BMA have been vocal about for years. We do not have enough GPs to meet the needs of our growing population: many people are living with increasingly complex conditions. This inevitably means that some patients are waiting too long for an appointment, which is distressing for people who are ill and frustrating to practice staff, who want to provide the best care possible”.

Richard also spoke on LBC radio last week to discuss OECD research which found that Britain has the second lowest number of doctors per capita in Europe, after Poland.

He said:  "The number of doctors has not kept pace with the rising population or the complexity of our patients. It's been a really good thing that more people are living longer into their 80s and 90s, but that also means that they are more in need of healthcare, and so we need to grow our medical services - not just doctors, but nurses and others as well, to be able to support the growing needs of our patients. If we don't do that then we put added burden on clinicians and that's when they themselves become burned out and leave."