There has been a 500 per cent rise in the number of GP surgeries approaching senior NHS manager for advice about shutting their doors or merging with nearby practises.
Funding cuts and problems recruiting new doctors have led to 169 GP surgeries contacting NHS England between April and December last year for advice on closing or joining forces with a nearby practise, compared to just 37 the previous year.
The figures were revealed in a Freedom of Information disclosure to a medical magazine and follow concerns raised by doctors leaders last year that the GP surgery system was suffering from the “toxic mix” of a flawed funding system and a soaring demand for medical care.
According to Pulse the raise serious questions about the viability of general practise in some regions of England with GPs listing funding cuts, expanding patients lists and problems with recruiting new doctors among their main challenges.
Dr Robert Mockett, a GP partner in Brighton, was forced to close his Eaton Place Surgery at the weekend as he and his partner are retiring and could not find anyone to take over the surgery.
He said: “The outpouring of emotion from patients has had me in tears all morning. I thought I’d stay until 65 but I would not survive. I feel for my patients.”
Dr Robert Morley, chair of the General Practitioners Committee contracts and regulations subcommittee, said: “This writing has been on the wall for the best part of a couple of decades and is now painted in enormous bold capital letters in a fluorescent font with powerful searchlights pointed at them.”Reuse content