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Millions of patients are being forced to wait up to a MONTH as GP recruitment crisis cripples NHS

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Millions of patients are being forced to wait up to a MONTH as GP recruitment crisis cripples the NHS

  • Staggering 15million GP appointments were delayed by a month in past year 
  • Some 55million GP visits across the UK took longer than two weeks to book  
  • £2M scheme to bring in 2,000 GPs from overseas has only brought an extra 58 

A staggering 15million GP appointments were delayed by a month in the past year.  

Doctors and MPs last night slammed the Government for ‘running the NHS into the ground’ for the past nine years.    

Some 15million appointments have been delayed for more than 28 days since last August and a similar number were delayed for between 22 and 28 days.

A staggering 15million GP appointments were delayed by a month in the past year. Stock picture

A staggering 15million GP appointments were delayed by a month in the past year. Stock picture

And an astonishing total of 55million GP visits took longer than two weeks to book.

 Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth told the Mirror the Tories, ‘had spent nine years running the NHS into the ground.’ 

A £2million government-backed scheme to bring in 2,000 GPs from overseas has only received 350 candidates. And of those only 58 actually began work as of June.

South London GP Louise Irvine, who stood for the NHS Action Party at the last election, sees the problem at first hand.

She told the Mirror: ‘GPs do all they can to see the sickest patients as soon as possible. It’s a real struggle and we feel enormous pressure. GP numbers have stood still since 2010, while patient numbers have risen.’

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A £2million government-backed scheme to bring in 2,000 GPs from overseas has only received 350 candidates. And of those only 58 actually began work as of June. Stock picture

A £2million government-backed scheme to bring in 2,000 GPs from overseas has only received 350 candidates. And of those only 58 actually began work as of June. Stock picture

Dr Ron Singer, who has been a GP for 30 years in Edmonton, London, warned that unless more are hired, the pressure on A&E will never be relieved.   

Health leaders have repeatedly blamed the shortage on increasing work pressures, hefty tax bills and an ageing workforce.

Many GPs are retiring in their 50s, moving abroad or leaving to work in the private sector, prompting a record 138 surgeries to shut in 2018.

And a separate team of researchers earlier this week said the growing workforce crisis is only being worsened by a drop in income across the profession. 

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: ‘Two in three appointments happen within seven days of being booked, but we are determined to reduce GP waiting times further.

‘Through our NHS Long Term Plan we are investing an extra £4.5billion a year by 2023-24 into primary and community care, including funding up to 20,000 extra staff in GP practices – helping to free-up doctors to spend more time with patients.’ 

HOW IS THE NHS TRYING TO HIRE MORE DOCTORS?

  • Health service last year revealed it would offer doctors working in Australia an £18,500 bonus if they moved to the UK to work for the NHS. A recruitment campaign reportedly tried to persuade doctors to move to the land of Harry Potter, Manchester United and William Shakespeare.
  • NHS set up a scheme to recruit 2,000 GPs from abroad by encouraging doctors in other countries to apply to work in the NHS. But only 34 were recruited between 2015 and February this year.
  • Trainee GPs offered a £20,000 ‘golden hello’ bonus if they take a job in hard-to-fill jobs. The young doctors must commit to work for at least three years in areas with notable shortages, including Hull, Plymouth, Lancaster and rural parts of County Durham and North Yorkshire. 
  • Matt Hancock suggested the tax-free pension ceiling could be lifted to try and persuade more existing GPs to work into their 60s. Currently doctors have to pay tax on any pension savings over £1m, but this amount could be increased.

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