Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Ever Wondered Why You Struggle to See Your GP?

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Ever Wondered Why You Struggle to See Your GP?

Article excerpt

Byline: Hannah Graham Reporter

JUNIOR doctors are refusing to become Family GPs sparking fears of a looming patients crisis.

Fewer GPs are trained in this region than anywhere else in England, new figures show.

This is despite NHS healthcare in the North East being widely regarded as the best in the country when it comes to junior doctor trainee satisfaction.

Figures released by Health Education England show just over 61% of the available places for trainee GPs in the region have been filled, a fall of 10% since 2014.

By contrast, in southern regions, including the South West and Thames Valley, GP training is oversubscribed, with an average fill rate of more than 100%.

Meanwhile, a recent survey by the British Medi-cal Association revealed one in three GPs in the region are considering retirement within the next five years.

Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, BMA spokesperson and chair of the GP workforce education and training committee, said the lack of trainee GPs could become a real problem, as qualified doctors often stay to practice in the areas in which they trained.

He said: "Trainees see patients and help with the workload, but the real issue is where they go after their training.

"I trained in a practice where I'm now a partner - if we're failing to fill two in five places, it is going to have a catastrophic effect on the provision of general practice locally.

"People will struggle to see their GP."

At present, one in 14 patients in the North East can't get a convenient GP appointment, according to analysis of the latest national GP survey.

But if this trend continues, these numbers could increase.

In April 2015, a group of medical professionals from across the region signed an open letter calling on politicians from all parties to take serious notice of the crisis in GP recruitment.

At the time, Dr George Rae, chairman of the North East BMA, said: "Traditionally there was massive competition for these posts, 10 or 15 years ago, you would have a significant number applying for each position."

Dr Kasaraneni pointed to a number of issues which might be pushing junior doctors away from training to become GPs. …

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