MA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘These new figures will resonate with the experience of GPs across the country as the recruitment and retention crisis in general practice is impacting practices of all sizes and all situations, as doctors face the pressures of rising workload, increasing administrative burden and a lack of resources.
‘Practices in rural and coastal regions, where the distance from large cities becomes a major obstacle in drawing in new recruits, have been particularly badly hit.’
He added that national initiatives to recruit GPs into these areas ‘will take some time before producing results’.
RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: ‘Sometimes, a closure is due to a practice merging, or becoming part of a federation, so that it can pool resources in the best interests of patient care.
But when it is because the practice team simply can’t cope with the resource and workforce pressures they are facing, it’s a serious failure of the system.’
The Labour Party’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: ‘Falling numbers of family doctors and ever more GP closures have forced 1.3mn patients to find a new surgery. This exposes the real crisis in primary care after eight years of grinding Tory austerity across the NHS.
‘Labour has long called for primary care to be given greater priority and investment. A key test for Theresa May in the coming weeks will be whether or not she finally delivers the level of investment and support that primary care so obviously needs.’
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