Some 99 GP practices in the UK shut for good last year, according to new figures collected by Pulse.
The closures, which included mergers and closures of branch practices, threw an estimated 350,000 patients off lists. The fall in practices numbers last year was not as drastic as the fall in 2018, when 138 practices closed.
The 2019/20 GP contract saw the creation of primary care networks in England, as well as an increase in funding for clinical staff.
In London, 18 practices closed last year. Londonwide LMCs told Pulse that it estimated that a third of all London practices have outstanding vacancies.
Dr Richard Fieldhouse said: “Whilst some of these closures could result in an increase in efficiency and services, unplanned closures — either as a result of resignations or an inability to recruit GPs locally — can cause the local provision of healthcare to implode. This leaves both patients and practices struggling to cope, and as GP locums we are often called in to help out neighbouring practices as a domino effect takes hold.
“The NASGP has long been campaigning for local health care systems to adopt ways to stabilise the local GP workforce. Resources such as NASGP Locum Chambers can help recruit GPs to the area and reduce the chances of disruption and closures. “