Retiring doctors could force surgeries to close
90% of GP’s are over the retirement age
The Royal College of GP’s have revealed that hundreds of GP practices could be forced to close, due to the number of doctors hitting retirement age.
The analysis has shown that more than 90% of GP’s are aged over 60, and with the average retirement age at 59, this could mean that a potential 543 GP practices of the 8,000 in England could be forced to shut over the course of the next year.
The revelations come after Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement to introduce seven day GP services.
RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker however states that extra investment is drastically needed to keep the GP system afloat, as GP’s are under immense pressure just providing the current level of services. She also comments that the NHS budget spent on GP’s has been falling in recent years, currently sitting at only 8%.
Speaking to the BBC, Dr Baker said “We do have a workforce crisis in general practice. We’ve been losing GP’s, we are losing GP’s and we’re not recruiting enough doctors into the profession.” Comparing GP’s to the walls of a dam, Dr Baker explains “So far much of the damage to the dam wall has been hidden from the public – they see the flooding downstream in A&E departments and in hospital pressures – but they haven’t been aware that GP’s, nurses and practice teams have been absorbing that pressure by trying to do more and more with less and less. But if we let that situation continue we will see whole chunks of the dam fall apart when practices have to shut their doors.”