GPs to hand contracts to trust as recruitment fails

2nd February 2023 by NASGP

GPs to hand contracts to trust as recruitment fails

GPs at two surgeries in Northern Ireland will hand their contracts to the local healthcare trust after recruitment failed, the BBC reports.

The Priory and Springhill GP Practice runs two sites in Holywood and Bangor, County Down. Partners warned last August that the surgeries would close in early 2023 unless they could recruit GPs to the team.

Meanwhile in Wales, Pulse reports, Borth Surgery in Ceredigion warned it would face closure if it continued to struggle with recruitment.

Commenting on the announcement that the South Eastern Trust will take over Priory-Springhill surgery, Dr Alan Stout, BMA NI GP committee chair said: “This is yet another example of the perilous state that general practice in Northern Ireland is in. This practice was in trouble many months ago. An enthusiastic new contractor did express an interest in taking on the practice but realised it would be impossible to get enough GPs to work there with them to meet the workload.”

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “Yet another tragic closure of a practice directly related to poor recruitment. Recruitment plans invariably focus on providing continuity, but without GP access – as this example proves – there is no continuity.

“With so many newly-qualified GPs preferring not to work in salaried posts or in traditional partnerships, but instead choosing to work as GP locums, we need to be doing much more to support GP locums so that they can support practices.

“To reduce the risk of more practices in Northern Ireland closing down, I suggest Dr Stout seriously considers supporting the formation of GP locum chambers across Northern Ireland to create a network of flexible GPs to support local practices.”

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"NASGP came along way before people understood the need for sessional and small group practices to be valued by the system. On joining as a single-handed GP many years ago, I was welcomed into the team by initially wrote a few blogs for the organisation, which followed my understanding of yet another NHS reorganisation. It was only due to the vision and drive of Richard, your founder, that NASGP survived the large practice dominance. The inception of being a portal for the needs of GP locums was a masterstroke. Those who knew about it quickly realised the true meaning of networking. So here we are many years down the line and in footballing terminology NASGP now play in the Premier League.
"Well done to all as this is a just reward for the loyalty, dedication and hard work of your team. I have fond memories of working with NASGP and would urge every practice, large or small, to join this organisation, there are only gains and no losses."

Dr Tony Hall-Jones, retired GP

Dr Tony Hall-Jones, retired GP

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