Study shows biggest fall in GPs in half a century

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One in five GPs in Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire could quit the profession, new studies have shown.

A review conducted by local clinical commission groups discovered that a large number of General Practitioners across the area are considering abandoning their profession, despite surgeries already struggling from immense pressures and from the decline in doctors.

A report by Nuffield Health has shown that the number of doctors per 100,000 people has fallen from 65 in 2014 to 60 last year, which has continuously plummeted over the past four years.

The average number of patients that each, individual GP has increased from 80 patients to 1, 734. The demands on general practise practitioners has resulted in longer waiting times for appointments, with some patients having to wait several weeks to be seen.

This is the first significant drop in the number of GPs the UK has witnessed in 50 years.

With numbers gradually depleting, the demands are intensifying and local Doctors surgeries are feeling these stresses.

Yvonne Bell, practise manager of Harley street medical centre in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, explains the difficulties that the surgery is currently suffering. One main impact is the decreasing numbers of people perusing a career in general practise.

She said: “There are not enough people going into general practise to sustain the number that are leaving or retiring.”

Bell believes that there are not enough junior doctors entering the profession due to these demands.

She added: “I just think it’s not as an attractive career as previous because the demands of the patients and the support services that are out there are not supporting the GP’s in their role in the community.”

Medical student, Sneya Sam from Keele University, agrees that the professions attraction has decreased because of the pressures that they are under.

She said: “I would say a lot of people look down on general practise as a career, particularly those interested in hospital medicine or surgery.”

She also claimed that that the job can be isolating and, in some instances, quite boring.

“The work is also quite hard. They are under a lot of pressure.”

Harley Street medical centre have set in place new schemes to help with patient demands, with complaints of waiting times and longer waits for appointments. Now, the surgery is asking patients to state what the issue is so they can decipher whether they can provide the care they need, or if another service would be more suitable.

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