GP Closures and What They mean for The Future of Primary Care
Pulse draws attention to the 583 GP Practice closures over the period between 2013 and 2018, highlighting the considerable challenges faced by primary care.
GP surgeries have found themselves in the middle of an imperfect storm, struggling with the challenges of rising patient demand, an increased workload and reduced funding. Against this backdrop, it is hardly surprising that primary care has struggled to attract junior doctors wanting to pursue a career in general practice and retain senior clinicians.
Last man standing situations in GP practices, where one partner is left responsible for the running of a practice (and its liabilities), have sadly become more commonplace.
While the record closure figures make for grim reading, at first sight, NHS England (NHSE) and local CCGs do work hard to ensure primary care services are maintained across localities.
Such figures are often not clear-cut: some of the practices involved will have merged (or been taken over by other practices) as actual closure (and the dispersal of a patient list across neighbouring practices) is seen by NHSE as very much a last resort. Nevertheless, for patients the change is often not ideal and an “arranged marriage” of practices often leads to tensions and further fall out between merger partners.
The PCN structure and the increased funding that is becoming to primary care does present a positive light at the end of what has been a gloomy period for GP Practices.
It remains to be seen whether this will have the transformative effect that many working in the higher echelons of primary care management currently believe.
Guy Morgan has been involved in many mergers for GP practices and is acting for a number of last-man standing GPs. Qualified since 1997, Guy worked in the City for over 10 years and is a commercial property solicitor at leading regional law firm, Trethowans, where he is a partner. Guy acts for a wide variety of private and public sector clients. He is recognised nationally for his property healthcare work and acts for many GP surgeries across the country.