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DDA members highlight rural GP woes in BBC’s Countryfile

Recruitment and retention in Wales, plus funding in England discussed

March 7th 2022

Tagged: HR Zone news DDA news Rurality England Wales

By Ailsa Colquhoun

Rural funding and recruitment and retention difficulties in rural general practice were highlighted in BBC TV’s Countryfile programme on Sunday.

DDA members Llanfyllin Group Practice in Powys and Shere Surgery & Dispensary, in Surrey, were interviewed in a feature entitled GPs under pressure.

Llanfyllin GP Dr Mel Plant highlighted how the GP workload has grown to around 2,000-2,100 patients per GP. With GPs taking early retirement, quitting or going part-time, she said: “Staff are struggling. An infusion of new doctors is desperately needed. We need GPs now, but we live here, and work here and will carry on until we can’t any longer.”

Highlighting the disparities in funding caused by the move to Primary Care Networks in England, Shere Surgery’s Dr Emma Watts said: “In rural areas there is no access to A&E or a chemist, so the practice has to provide a greater range of services. We need the freedom to spend the money as our patients need it.”

Dr Kieran Sharrock, deputy chair of the GPC, described the situation of rural GPs as a vicious circle: “Primary Care Networks receive funds to recruit more workforce, but if you can’t recruit the workforce you don’t receive the funding. So that means rural areas which can’t recruit haven’t had an increase in funding.”

New data from the BMJ shows that England lost 279 qualified full time GPs from the register last year.

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