GOLDEN HELLOS FOR NEW ESSEX GPs
From the News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton
Released Monday 21 July 2014
Posted on 18 July 2014 by Sofia Lind
PULSE DAILY, the on-line newsletter to GPs around the country, have today published a story written by their own journalist Sofi Lind, advising that GPs moving to Essex are being offered a £10,000 ‘golden hello’ to attract doctors to move to this county.
Exclusive GPs moving to Essex will be handed up to £10,000 under plans for a ‘golden hello’ scheme to try to combat a recruitment crisis leaving practices ‘on the brink of collapse’.
The scheme, which has been funded via a £400,000 fire-fighting fund from health education chiefs, will see any GP moving to Essex and staying on for two years receive £5,000, with the possibility of another £2,500 depending on the level of deprivation and an extra £2,500 depending on how under-doctored the area is – with a maximum payment of £10,000.
Essex LMC, which has been heavily involved in fashioning the scheme, said it is one of a number of projects to be rolled out to try to solve the crisis which has left practices on the ‘brink of collapse’. The region is now short of the 143 full-time equivalent GPs recommended by NHS England’s primary care strategy.
Tendering and Braintree, in the north-east of the county, will be the two key priority areas to target with the ‘golden hello’ money, it said. Pulse revealed in January that the crisis in the region has seen one permanent GP having to serve more than 8,000 residents in one area in the north-east of the county.
There is no fixed overall budget for the scheme itself, but the money will be taken out of the £400,000 pot of emergency funding that Health Education England (HEE) has offered to local commissioners to spend on longer term and short term measures to plug the gaps in recruitment, including hiring more locum GPs and training more practice nurses.
Essex LMC chief executive Dr Andrew Bradshaw said: ‘GPs have to stay for two years [to earn] payments up to £10,000. We need to do it because some practices are on the brink of collapse.’
The move comes as a GP practice in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, has so far failed to attract a new doctor despite offering a golden hello payment twice the size. The Thorne Moor Medical Practice has for months been advertising a role which would pay a £20,000 bonus above earnings over the course of three years during which they would have to stay.
However, Dr Joe Firth, a partner at the practice, said: ‘Three people showed an interest, none of whom were qualified yet. Two pulled out of the interview process because they were offered jobs elsewhere. A third was a very good candidate and we offered him the job, but he decided for personal reasons that he couldn’t start until January. So we were left with nothing.’
‘The advert is going out again this month and this time we’re going to be even more obvious with the fact we’re offering this £20,000 incentive. It’s just bizarre [because] it’s a nice place to work.’
Dr Firth said the problem appeared to be that there are not enough new doctors opting to become GPs and those that were wanted to be locums or even work abroad.
He said: ‘The problem is there’s not enough new doctors coming through. For people who qualify now, there are so many jobs out there for them to choose from. I’m on a mailing list for GP trainers and trainees, and every day there’s a new email from a practice in Yorkshire looking for a doctor. They can pick and choose where they go. Lots of them want to be locums and I even hear lots are taking time out to go travelling or are going abroad to work. They see no incentive to joining a practice or staying there.’
Pulse revealed this week that at least 109 practices in the UK – including 91 in England – have already approached their LMCs about potentially closing as a result of funding and recruitment pressures.
MORE PRACTICES PLAN FOR CLOSURE AS TOTAL HITS 109
From the News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton
Source Pulse Daily
Posted by 15 July 2014 | by Jaimie Kaffash
Exclusive Around 30 practices in London alone are under threat of closing, as a Pulse investigation reveals that the number of practices across the UK considering their future has reached more than 100.
More local leaders have come forward in the wake of Pulse’s investigation earlier this month – which found that 60 practices across the UK were under threat of closure – warning they have ‘not seen anything like this’ in 20 years.
The GPC has warned that a ‘perfect storm’ has led to ‘more and more practices considering their options’, including the withdrawal of MPIG, PMS reviews and the recruitment crisis.
London is the worst affected region, but local leaders in Northamptonshire and Devon have also come forward warning they both have six practices under threat, while Doncaster, Leicestershire, Sunderland and Sussex LMCs have all reported practices are considering handing back contracts.
Pulse asked LMC leaders across the country how many practices had contacted them regarding the possibility of closing.
A spokesperson for Londonwide LMCs said ‘current indications are around 28-30.’
Dr Tony Grewal, medical secretary of Londonwide LMCs, said that the capital was particularly badly affected by MPIG.
He said: ‘NHS England (London) have explicitly stated that no money is available to support practices severely affected by the withdrawing of MPIG payments. They have offered organisational support to practices from within existing resources.’
‘Londonwide [LMCs] have made a number of other suggestions for their consideration, including temporary bridging payments to practices… and we are waiting for their considered response.’
Pulse has reported that Jubilee Practice in Tower Hamlets, east London, has already put a ‘red button date’ in place, which may see them having to close.
Virginia Patania, practice manager, said that there was now a ‘very large campaign’ called Save Our Surgeries being led by the practice to highlight the potential of closures.
She said: ‘It’s something we are looking at in a way we have never look at before. Part of it is funding, part of it is recruitment. In Tower Hamlets a fair number of us, for a collection of reasons, would say our viability is severely limited over the next year or two.’
‘There’s definitely a view from NHS England that mergers are the way of the future. But you need to get to the future to consider this. No support has been given to practices in that transition.’
In Devon, LMC leader Dr Mark Sanford-Wood said: ‘In terms of closures, we haven’t seen any yet, but we have on our radar at least half a dozen practices we are very concerned about. It is highly likely that a good number will end up closing by the end of the year.’
‘I’ve been involved with the LMC for 20 years and I’ve never seen this before. For this to start happening now is significant.’
Dr Beth McCarron-Nash, GPC negotiator, told Pulse: ‘I am certainly hearing anecdotally about more and more practices considering their options. It’s a perfect storm of problems. Some of that is the contract imposition from 2013, some is from funding swings as a result of MPIG redistribution.
‘That, along with spiralling workload and increasing demand… is having a catastrophic effect on practices and are struggling to cope.’