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  1. ITV Report

Crisis in GP cover across the South West

Struggling with patient demand - Dr Ray Montague at work in Bristol Photo:

In many areas there are over fifteen hundred patients assigned to every GP.

Dr Ray Montague who works at the Hillview Family Practice in Bristol has been a GP for 25 years, and in that time things have changed.

When do you go to your GP?
Dr Ray Montague at work in Bristol

So why are more of us in this middle age bracket going to the doctor? Dr Montague thinks it's because there's a lot more preventative medicine these days.

The average GP appointment costs the NHS £43. Annually we book 60 million more appointments now than we did five years ago.

The trouble is that GP numbers haven't kept up. There are a hundred and eleven full time GP vacancies across our region.

And that of course means more work for the existing ones.

For every GP in North Somerset, for example, there are now one thousand nine hundred and twenty eight patients.

  • So is a bigger workload putting people off the job? And what are NHS managers going to do about it?

NHS England is increasing GP training places to try and recruit 5000 extra ones by 2020.

And the Government's increasing medical school places by 25%. But it takes 10 years to qualify as a GP.

So in the meantime, the current generation is having to adapt.