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LMC Update 18th May 2014

Date sent: Sunday 18 May 2014

Email sent by Wessex LMCs to all GPs and Practice Managers, on 18/05/2014.

LMCs will be gathering in York this week for our national conference.  The future of general practice will dominate the debate and so expect to see lots in the media about the current issues and also the significant challenges we all face.  Part of the problem is the unrelenting attack on the profession from the media. There are other groups who have not listened to the real concerns expressed by the profession over the last 4-5 years about the crisis that is looming.  

Today we have released the results of a major survey that the LMC has undertaken, the results are a stark warning that the future is bleak for GPs, patients and elected representatives (who will get blamed) unless we take action now.

Many newly qualified GPs have said they do not want to take up a permanent post in general practice because of the current crisis and the negativism that there is about general practice. This comes from the media but also many GPs feel negative, as do their practices.

I remain optimistic about the future, things will get better. We need to focus on solutions and really address the problems. We must talk up general practice so the next generation want to join us and not be fearful of that commitment. There are many positive and valued aspects of general practice but the current model is going to need to change.

The solutions are clear:


1. Press release - Recruitment and Retention

2. LMC website - launch of an App for the iPhone

3. Seasonal Flu Plan - 2014/5

4. Childhood flu vaccination service specification 2014/5

5. Read Codes for Hepatitis B for newborn babies



1. Press release - Recruitment and Retention

GP services in Wessex are facing a workforce crisis that could undermine patient care across the region.

These are the stark warnings from a new survey undertaken locally.

Fewer GPs will result in less available appointments with longer waits to see a GP and some practices may  face closure.

The Wessex Local Medical Committee recently undertook a survey of the GPs who work locally.

A total of 1,400 GPs completed the survey, a response rate of over 50%.

Dr Nigel Watson, GP in the New Forest and Chief Executive of Wessex Local Medical Committees said “this survey is very worrying; with GPs already leaving because of workload pressure, if no one replaces them the workload increases on those who remain, this will precipitate more early retirements and some areas could find themselves without a practice.  Urgent action is needed to address the problems.”

Over the last couple of years General Practice has become far more challenging, with rising workload, a population with more complex health needs and greater demands for access.

Locally, practices are finding it more difficult to recruit new GPs and as a result some have failed to replace retiring GPs.  General Practice has become less attractive to younger GPs who are choosing to work as a locum or go abroad rather than commit themselves to a practice. The reason many give for this decision is the workload they have witnessed within the Practice they trained in and a feeling that life within a practice is too difficult at the moment.

Many older GPs are looking to retire at an earlier age than they planned largely due to workload.

The result of this could be catastrophic if action is not taken to support and develop general practice locally.

Below are some quotes from the survey:

“I currently have no plans to retire given my age but seriously am considering all other options to try and get out of this stressful undervalued profession that is killing my social and family life and destroying my morale daily”

“I'm only 38 and can't do this for the next 22 years+!”

“If it was financially viable for me and my family, I would not hesitate to leave the profession, and I regret my choice of career most days, often putting in 15 hour days, day after day”

“I had hoped to continue past 60 but sadly am now counting the time down as am finding the workload overwhelming and may well retire from general practice at 56-58 if financially possible”

“I have brought forward my planned retirement age from 65 to 60 because of the risk that the increasing workload is posing to my health”

“Retirement not an option as too young, but am seriously looking at other ways out, current situation unsustainable!”

“Falling income, pension issues, exponentially rising workload with bureaucratic micromanagement and political sound bites which unrealistically raise expectations to the point of stupidity are crucifying this profession. I will look for an early way out any way I can.”

“Still enjoying work but increasing workload definitely taking its toll. Would consider earlier retirement if did not still have children in full-time education. Am tired of being a whipping boy for the press and politicians.”

Our patients locally deserve to receive high quality care. This can only be achieved if we recruit and retain GPs.  Urgent action is required to address these issues or we face a year on year reduction in the number of GPs. In addition if general practice fails the pressure on hospitals will rise exponentially.



Some facts about general practice that might be helpful:

General Practice in this country is widely admired throughout the world and is seen to deliver high quality services, available to all, irrespective of their ability to pay, cost effective and trusted by patients.

There are 40,000 GPs in the UK and the average GP looks after about 1,700 patients.

In 2004 there were 240,000,000 consultations with GPs and this rose to 340,000,000 in 2013, which means about 1,000,000 patients, consult with a GP each day.

 On average a GP will see about 40 - 45 patients per day.

General Practice received about 8% of the NHS budget yet accounts for 90% of all the patient contacts.

Practices are funded between £60 – 80 per patient per year – so less than £2 per person per week.

The findings support evidence nationally from surveys undertaken by the British Medical Association and the current campaign to support general practice:

Over the next week we will publish the full results and break it down by area.

We also have the results of the survey of practices, practice managers and practice nurses. We will use these results and publish them shortly once we have finished the analysis.


2. LMC website - launch of an App for iPhones

Following the recent launch of the new look LMC website we have received many positive comments about how much this has improved in terms of the layout, the search facility and the overall appearance. The website has been designed so that it is compatible with the iPhone.

To make things even easier we have been working with Fourteen Fish to develop an App for iPhones and iPads. This will make viewing the website available both online and also off line.

Try it out it is now available on the App store - search for Wessex LMCs - iPhone only.

We hope to launch the iPad version in the next couple of weeks.


3. Seasonal flu plan 2014/5

The seasonal flu plan for this winter has now been published.

Flu immunisation programme 2014-2015

Flu plan – winter 2014 to 2015


4. Childhood flu vaccination service specification 2014/5

The updated flu vaccination service specification for 2014-5 has now been published by NHS England. This enhanced service commences on 1st September 2014, the Area Teams will offer this to practices by 30th June 2014.


5. Read Codes for Hepatitis B for newborn babies

The Read Codes for hep B vaccination for newborn babies have now been published by HSCIC and are available on the BMA's vaccination and immunisation webpages.


Best wishes


Dr Nigel Watson

Chief Executive

Wessex LMCs

Churchill House, 122-124 Hursley Rd

Chandler's Ford, Eastleigh

Hants. SO53 1JB (Registered Office)

Tel: 02380253874

Mobile: 07825173326


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Updated on 19 May 2014 1875 views