GP Shortage Will Hit West Norfolk
4:13pm 31st July 2014
(Updated 4:13pm 31st July 2014)
There's a warning that unless more junior doctors decide to be GPs, rural surgeries in places like West Norfolk could close.
It comes after 1500 patients had to be transferred from Watton after the GPs there retired and couldn't find anyone to replace them.
Cllr Phillip Cowen from Breckland Council says it's something they are very worried about...
“We have unearthed a problem that I believe affects the whole of Norfolk. The difficulty is that GP Surgeries are independent contractors, so the NHS doesn’t have a direct link. Our advice is that the NHS needs to look at how it will manage this problem and we can do that through our MPs.”
Breckland Council says it will now work with the County Council, the local Clinical Commissioning Groups, and NHS England.
It’s thought many junior doctors are attracted to hospital work rather that moving to small towns.
Cllr Cowen says that’s something that needs to change:
"There are 49 GP vacancies across the County which represent around 10% of the GP pool. There are issues about recruiting GPs generally not just rurally. We believe that more doctors who train are choosing not to go into General Practice but to stay in hospitals because of the career paths there and the state of the art equipment and treatments."
NHS England has spoken to KLFM this afternoon and confirmed that this is a nationwide issue, which (in the East of England) particularly affects Norfolk.
But it's now working with universities and other organisations to address the problem as Katy Norton, Director of Commissioning in the East, explains...
"The solution is around giving opportunities to new doctors in training to train in Norfolk. So I think we do recognise the opportunities of working with universities. Because what we do find is that doctors who train in the area tend to want to stay."
KLFM News has also requested interviews or a statement from the CCG.