New figures revealed this week that show more than a million patients have had to move GP surgeries in the last five years because of 450 practice closures will resonate with the experience of GPs in the North East.
The recruitment and retention GP crisis in the North East is impacting practices of all sizes and all situations as doctors face the pressures of rising workload, increasing administrative burden and a lack of resources.
General practice plays an essential role in offering continuity of care, where patients can build a trusting, long-term relationship with their practice.
But, when practices close, this important foundation can be put at risk and patients’ experiences may suffer as a result.
While there are a number of initiatives under way to recruit GPs into our area, they will take some time before producing results.
Frontline GPs and wider practice teams are going to great lengths in order to keep offering the best service to their patients in the most difficult circumstances, but they cannot do it without proper support and long-term funding.
The Government must work with organisations such as the BMA to make general practice a more appealing profession, tackling the root causes for the departure of hardworking doctors and ensuring that all patients continue to receive high-quality and timely care at a local surgery.
Without proper investment in primary care, the knock-on effects on the rest of the health service, and society as a whole will cost the Government dearly in the long run.
Dr George Rae
BMA North East Regional Council Chairman