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NEWS ROUNDUP: Leeds GP shortage concerns


09/09/21 | Councillors and medical experts have warned that new GPs need to be recruited as quickly as possible, as expected retirements in the coming years could leave local surgeries short of doctors.

Members of Leeds City Council’s adults and health scrutiny board also heard how some GPs were also taking early retirement, while others were going part time due to stress.

The board met to discuss a report into same day response services in Leeds, presented by the Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group, which co-ordinates primary healthcare, such as GPs. The document listed in its long term priorities that it wanted to “expand the number of GPs” and help towards the national target of 50 million more GP appointments by 2024.

But committee member and chair of Healthwatch Leeds Dr John Beal told the meeting: “Looking at the future, it talks about expanding the number of GPs – I wish!

“We know the Government has increased the number of medical students. But it takes them a long time to come out as GPs.

“And you have to offset that against the existing GPs who are going to be retiring. When you look at the age cohort, quite a lot of our GPs are going to be retiring in the next few years. There is a move towards increasing early retirements and GPs who basically are stressed out and go part time instead of full time.

“I wonder how realistic it is to be talking about increasing the number of GPs.”

Kirsty Turner, head of primary care transformation at Leeds CCG, said: “I recognise that point, which is why we have short term and long term actions. Workforce is a particular programme in its own right.

“We have got to look at recruitment and retention initiatives, and also the totality of the workforce. We have got to think differently about what the workforce will look like.

“But I don’t have a magic wand to say ‘yes, we are going to have 6,000 and they are going to be in Leeds’, but we have a part to play.”

Coun Norma Harrington (Con) asked whether there were statistics available as to the number of GP vacancies across Leeds, and that it “might be quite shocking for people to see”.

She added: “What plans are there to recruit to replace retirements? We have two part time doctors in one of our surgeries. If one of them were to leave, we are absolutely in a tragic situation.”

Ms Turner said it was something they could and share at a later date, adding: “I don’t have the number of vacancy figures at hand, but by the end of this year there is an aspiration to take on another 280 full time equivalents – but that is made up of pharmacists, social prescribers, dieticians and other roles.”

Chair of the scrutiny board Coun Abigail Marshall Katung (Lab) said: “I would be very interested to know the figures, especially in the numbers of GPs.

“In terms of the reports of delays we are receiving from people trying to get through to their GPs, this is very important.”

(LDRS | Richard Beecham)



Glamourous racegoers went all out at Doncaster Racecourse as the St Leger Festival returned after being held behind closed doors last year.

More than 5,000 punters piled through the gates for day one of the four-day event, the premier highlight of the flat racing season.

Last year's festival was due to be a government pilot event with crowds in.

But plans to let crowds in were pulled after the first day due to a sudden spike in Covid cases so it was held behind closed doors for the remaining three days.

With restrictions now lifted, female racegoers were determined to make the most of the day as they stepped up the style stakes for Legends Day at the racecourse.

Face masks were ditched as fascinators and fancy frocks were the order of the day as fans bathed in glorious 29C heat.

Thursday, which will be Ladies Day and Saturday, which will be Leger Day, are expected to be the busiest two days of the festival and cops have stepped up patrols in the area.

Supt Cherie Buttle, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “The St Leger is a fantastic event, and we are as pleased as everyone else to see the crowds returning to Doncaster.

"After a difficult 18 months, it feels like a little normality is returning.

“We are fully prepared for the festival, with plans in place to support the organisers and our partners, to ensure the safety of people heading to the race course over the next four days."

(SWNS | Ashley Pemberton)

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