Crisis as SEVEN GP surgeries shutting a month

SEVEN GP surgeries are closing every month, piling even more pressure on overstretched A&E departments.

Labour found that from 2009 to last month, 484 closed in England.

And GP numbers rose by just 209 over four years to just 36,294, said the Health and Social Care Information Centre. Royal College of GPs chief Dr Maureen Baker said: “Across the country we’ve a severe shortage.”

Doctors SurgeryLabour also found 71 trusts, 76% of those in England, had 1,175 days of “operational problems” including cancelled ops last winter – almost double 2009/10’s figure.

And Pulse, the doctors’ magazine,  has warned  hundreds of thousands of patients could be left without a GP within six months as overworked family doctors consider shutting almost 500 surgeries.

Pulse editor Nigel Praities said: “These figures are shocking, and show that we are on the precipice of widespread GP practice closures unless ministers intervene.

Their poll found one in 20 GPs is thinking about shutting their practice completely within the next six months because they are overstretched and suffering from a recruitment crisis and a lack of funding.

Richard Vautrey from the British Medical Association, which represents 150,000 doctors, said the figures showed a reality that was “all too common now”. He said: “They reflect the growing workload pressures and real stresses that GPs are under. And it’s not a surprise that many GPs have reached the end of their tether.”

Pulse editor Nigel Praities said: “These figures are shocking, and show that we are on the precipice of widespread GP practice closures unless ministers intervene.

“GPs need an emergency package of support to help them restructure and protect their patients.”

Labour have vowed to recruit 8,000 extra GPs if elected and the Tories have pledged to recruit another 5,000.

“It doesn’t get any better – does it?”

more at: http://tinyurl.com/ncx64ej

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