Written evidence submitted by the New Springwells Practice (FGP0197)

 

We are a 6,500 patient, rural GP Practice in Lincolnshire with two GP Partners (both likely to retire in the next 5-7 years), 2 salaried GPs and it is also a GP training practice.  We have a CQC ‘outstanding’ rating.  Due to lack of trained medical staff, we have tried to recruit a GP, ANP and Practice Nurse in the last few months, all with great difficulty as the number of applicants has fallen dramatically.

 

We have a large, elderly population who subsequently have complex medical conditions. 

 

The specific areas we would like to cover are the following:

 

Workforce and Morale:

These two topics are connected because 37% of GPs in the UK have expressed an intention to leave within the next five years.  This will increase the proportion of GPs aged over 50 to 63% and most of these have indicated that they want to reduce their hours over the next five years.  There are now 1700 fewer full-time equivalent GPs than in 2015.  Morale has decreased as a GPs’ working day is on average 12 hours, so the perception that 3-days a week in general practice is completely wrong.  This Government needs to acknowledge the good work done by General Practice and rebut negative press about the profession as has recently happened.  Hopefully this would stop the verbal and sometimes physical abuse that frontline staff are subjected to on an almost daily basis. 

 

Workload:

Without question, GPs workload is increasing but particularly for several reasons.  There still exists a huge amount of transfer of work from secondary care to primary care with the perception this can be done in primary care and is adequately resourced.  In our Practice the waiting time for pre-booked face to face appointments with a specific Doctor is three days – this is excellent but not recognised.  Yes, we do carry out 40% of telephone consultations but these are for patients who have queries about their medication, enquiring about test results and other administrative duties.  The remainder of patients we see face to face. 

 

We have multiple regulators in General Practice including the GMC, CQC, CCG etc.  We frequently get random administrative tasks or documents to complete for these other contractors with very short return-by timescales.  These are often just a paperwork exercise but the numbers of administrators in the NHS have mushroomed giving us meaningless tasks to complete to purely justify their roles. 

 

 

This Government needs to increase investment in General Practice training, increase space at medical schools to train more Doctors so that more can become GPs and stop the denigration of General Practice by politicians which undermines the profession and reduces the likelihood of Doctors joining the profession.

 

December 2021