Thursday, September 16News For London

One in five London GP practices at risk of closure

109 GP surgeries in the capital could close over the next three years according to a recent survey.

Photo: Tommaso Galli
Photo: Tommaso Galli

Nearly half of London’s 1,300 GP practices were contacted on behalf of Londonwide LMC, a group that represents the capitals GPs who found 19 intended to close by 2019. This would leave over 100,000 patients without care.

One fifth of practises could not rule out the possibility of closure, potentially resulting in one million patients losing their family doctor. Most GPs blamed bureaucracy, increased demand and GP shortages as factors. With 49 per cent said they currently have a staff vacancy and 31 per cent in need of at least one GP.

The worst affected boroughs are Kensington and Chelsea and Barnet who are likely to lose at least four practices each.

Chief executive of Londonwide, Dr Michelle Drage, in a statement to the GP magazine, Pulse, said: “Hero GPs are working flat out to cover the gaps, but they’re at breaking point and need real support to keep caring for our growing city, and the growing complexity of its health needs.”

Dr Steve Clayton, a GP who has been running a family based GP practice for over 23 years, said to Westminster World:

“London is reflective of the big picture, there is a nationwide recruitment crisis. The number of GPs due to retire in the next five years will only make this worse.”

Tower Hamlets GP, Dr Thomas Round, tweets that the junior doctors strike won’t help recruitment:

Dr Nick Flynn highlights the huge numbers of GPs due to retire:

NHS England has launched an initiative to support struggling practices. The £10 million pilot scheme will deliver “rescue teams” into at-risk surgeries, offering financial and IT support. However the General Practitioners Committee has said the fund is not big enough and the plan does not cover some of the most vulnerable practices.

Subeditor: David Gregg