GP numbers in Thurrock continue to decline

Thurrock CCG

OVER the last two years, we have heard this figure that Thurrock is “under-doctored”.

It means there are not as many as there should be.

So we asked the Thurrock Clinical Commission Group, if there had been any progress over the last year.

A spokesperson said: “According to NHS Digital, Thurrock had 70 FTE GPs in June 2017 and 78 in September 2015, this included GP locums, FTE’s salaried and non-salaried, Registrars and Partners.

Rahul Chaudhari, Head of Primary Care at Thurrock CCG said:

“We know in Thurrock there has been some challenges in retention and recruitment of GPs, but this is not unique, there are challenges across the whole country.

“The workforce model is now changing. Working through the GP Five Year Forward View, there are new models of care that take the pressure off lone GPs and focus on wider healthcare teams. In Thurrock practices are being supported to implement newer models of care and use skill sets of other clinicians. Key to this is moving away from out dated single GP models in buildings not fit for purpose and moving primary care in to purpose built buildings with rooms for multi-disciplinary teams. Care is offered from different healthcare professionals and with the support of more than one GP. We have recruited two EU GPs who are in post, and we have another one expected to be recruited by December 2017.

“There are 3.8 clinical pharmacists and plans to recruit an additional three by December 2017. A specialist physiotherapist is in post within the patch and we plan for three more to be recruited.

“There is an Emergency Care Practitioner in College Health practices, taking the burden off GPs for unplanned or emergency call outs. There are hopes to influence other practices to do the same. There is a Physician Assistant in post with more expected soon.

“Thurrock was the only area in the East of England to achieve Wave 2 funding for IAPT LTC mental health therapists. The first will start in September 2017.
We are also working with voluntary and mental health providers to offer social prescribers which have been able to offer patients opportunities to support themselves to improve their lives and mental wellbeing.

“We know there is a shortage and we are working with our NHS England colleagues to make significant changes to the primary care offer and hope that by 2021 the picture in Thurrock will be a positive one.”

Dr Alistair Lipp, Medical Director for NHS England Midlands and East (East) Said:

“We know that workforce is the biggest issue for general practice. There are not enough GPs and workload is ever increasing as demand continues to grow. People are living longer, and many are doing so with long-term conditions which need regular care like diabetes. This is influencing the decision of new doctors to join general practice and, at the other end of the career scale, to leave it early.

“We are working hard across the NHS to not only sustain primary care but transform it for the future. Nationally, we have a dedicated programme of work that’s part of a package called the General Practice Forward View, and within this there are schemes to recruit new doctors, recruit other primary care professionals and encourage older GPs to stay in the profession.

“In Mid and South Essex, a pilot has been running to recruit GPs from overseas as part of the International GP Recruitment Scheme which is now being expanded across England.

“We have been working closely with Thurrock CCG to sustain and transform primary care in the area for some time. This has included help for those areas with longer wait times due to workforce issues and last year there were 19,000 additional appointments.

“Recruiting more GPs is not the only answer to meeting today’s demands on primary care. We’re also helping them to redesign the way modern primary care is offered to patients, with healthcare professionals that can support GPs and enhance the services patients can get at their surgery.”

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