WANTED: 111 General Practitioners to fill vacancies across the South West.
That's the latest figure from NHS England, for a region where GPs are already struggling with huge numbers of patients. On average they have at least 1500 patients each, and in North Somerset - the most stretched region - they have over 1900 patients each.
Although the minimum salary for a fully-qualified GP is £56,000 a year, most of them work 12-hour days and see approximately 30-40 patients a day.
According to University of Bath researcher and former GP Dr Michael Harris, NHS reorganisation, increased workload and reduced time for patient care are the factors forcing many GPs to leave the profession early.
Dr Harris left the profession himself after 27 years. He has recently published a new study into GP retention, for which he interviewed 143 GPs who had also left early.
An NHS England survey found that non-patient GP time is mainly spent on:
- Organising payment for their services
- Processing information from hospitals
- Keeping up to date with NHS changes
In response to the new study, NHS England says it is working to reduce the regulatory paperwork burden on GPs, and encourage practices to work together to spread out the administrative tasks. It also adds: