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MSI Group responds to proposed GP funding boost

Nick Simpson, CEO of MSI Group, has responded to the proposed GP funding boost:


“As an organisation which is on the front line of recruitment into the NHS, we understand the direct correlation between timely access to primary care and patient safety. On this basis, we welcome reforms to boost the number of family doctors by 5,000 over five years as outlined in the Government’s General Practice Forward View.


“A cash injection of £2.4 billion has the potential to revolutionise General Practice in England and MSI Group supports the Royal College of GPs’ position that, if implemented correctly, patients will reap the benefits. However, we at MSI Group have concerns surrounding the viability of such ambitious plans.


“While it is encouraging to see a more strategic approach to long-term workforce planning, increasing the number of trainee GPs recruited is only sustainable if there is the talent available to fill these positions. In 2014, applications to GP training were so low that an unprecedented third round of applications was opened. In some areas, the fill rate for GP trainee jobs was as low as 62%; even after this third round. One in eight posts nationally was vacant, and it has been speculated that pressure of workload is a contributing factor.


“According to a recent report by the Healthcare Foundation, 60% of UK GPs found general practice extremely or very stressful and 22% were made ill by stress in the past year. While a £20,000 bursary may tempt some to follow a career in general practice short term, only time will tell if concurrent measures to bring on board 5,000 non-medical staff will ease pressure and change the culture of general practice to make it an attractive long-term option.


“Incoming rules that mean GPs with previous UK experience - who work in equivalent primary care roles outside the UK – will be able to come back to GP surgeries without needing to sit exams should help to ease immediate GP shortages. So too should changes to make it easier for family doctors to work part time. However, the long-term sustainability of the NHS rests on a talent pipeline that not only has the capacity to funnel more young doctors into the profession but also an attractive culture to retain them.”       


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