General Practitioners: North East

Department of Health written question – answered on 3rd November 2015.

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Photo of Douglas Carswell Douglas Carswell UKIP, Clacton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of GP retention in the North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group area; and what steps he is taking to improve GP retention.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Minister of State, Department of Health

We are advised by NHS England that it commissioned the Essex GP Workforce Audit in autumn 2014 to define the extent of the general practitioner (GP) recruitment and retention problem in Essex, including the North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area.

In response to the audit’s findings, the Essex Primary Care Inter-Professional Centre for Workforce Development was launched in September. This has been developed by the Essex Workforce Group (comprising NHS England, local CCGs and Health Education England) to address the ongoing difficulty in recruiting, developing and retaining GPs, practice nurses and primary care staff in Essex. The centre will act as a ‘resource, networking and support hub’ and has a website allowing primary care staff to access training opportunities and mentoring opportunities through which they can develop their skills and careers.

Nationally, we understand that NHS England is working with partners, including the Royal College of GPs and Health Education England, to increase GP numbers, reduce bureaucracy and use the skills of other healthcare professionals, such as community pharmacists, to ensure high-quality, and, above all else, safe, patient care.

On 26 January, NHS England announced a £10 million investment to boost the GP workforce. The money will be used to recruit new GPs, retain those who are thinking of leaving the profession and encourage doctors to return to general practice, to better meet the needs of patients now and for the future.

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