Recruitment of GPs in the East Riding ‘set to become more challenging’ says report

The recruitment and retention of GPs in the East Riding is set to become more challenging amid mounting workloads and an ageing workforce, a report has warned.

By Joe Gerrard (Local Democracy Reporting Service)
Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 10:51 am
Practices in Beverley, Driffield and Bridlington are looking to recruit more trainees in a bid to get younger GPs into the profession, the report said. Photo: National World
Practices in Beverley, Driffield and Bridlington are looking to recruit more trainees in a bid to get younger GPs into the profession, the report said. Photo: National World

A report submitted to East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Health, Care and Wellbeing Committee stated GPs and primary care networks had been stretched further and further since the coronavirus pandemic began.

It added the long term effects of the pandemic, including staff absences due to catching coronavirus and self-isolations would continue to put pressure on local health services for some time.

It comes as the report stated recruiting people into general practice had always been a challenge, particularly in rural, remote, coastal and deprived areas.

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But it added more recruits opting for part time and mounting workloads meant primary care providers now needed 1.3 trainees for every full-time equivalent GP.

The report also warned negative stories about GP practices as they emerged from the pandemic and an ageing workforce meant recruitment and retention was becoming extremely challenging.

The report stated: “GP workload has grown hugely, both in volume and complexity.

“Population changes account for some of this increase in demand, but changes in medical technology and new ways of treating patients also play a role.

“GPs are increasingly opting for ‘portfolio careers’ or part-time work.

“Only 11 per cent of GP trainees surveyed by the British Medical Association (BMA) intend to do full-time clinical work five years after qualification.

“The Clinical Commissioning Group and the practices fully appreciate that this is a real concern and a point of frustration for patients as often contact with the practice can be time consuming.”

Figures from the report showed that GP practices’ contacts had grown by 15 per cent national overall since March 2019.

Face-to-face contacts grew by 13 per cent while telephone ones rose by 63 per cent.

NHS GP workforce data showed the number of full time East Riding practitioners had remained fairly static since September 2015, hovering around 150.

But it also showed staff levels were failing to keep pace with the groups most likely to use primary care, those aged over 65 and over 85.

The report also warned the East Riding’s ageing GP workforce, the majority of which are over 40, would cause challenges in the coming five to 10 years.

It added the NHS’s Return to Practice scheme, which helps qualified professionals get back into the sector, had seen five GPs come back in the East Riding.

It also stated there were hopes that staff in the sector would grow with a coming £2.4bn investment into services nationally by 2024.

The funding is equivalent to around £1.47m for each Primary Care Network.

Practices in Beverley, Driffield and Bridlington are also looking to recruit more trainees in a bid to get younger GPs into the profession.

The report stated East Riding practices were also following national trends in becoming larger in scale but less numerous.

There were 39 GP practices in the East Riding in 2012 but the number is set to fall to 25 by this summer.