The Department does not have a specific policy on the retention of general practitioner (GP) practices in areas with an elderly demographic.
NHS England is responsible for the provision of primary medical services in England. As such, it is for NHS England to ensure that patients in all areas have access to GP services. To assess GP service provision in an area, NHS England works with the Care Quality Commission and local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), using data from information sources such as the GP Patient survey and the primary care web tool.
In terms of overall strategy, the provision of primary care will be part of the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) which is published in each local authority area and reported through the local Health and Well-being Board. The JSNA will identify any gaps and risks in the provision of primary care to the local population which, in turn, will then inform commissioning strategies for that area.
GP Practices as independent contractors are responsible for ensuring that the practice clinical workforce is fit for purpose and able to meet the reasonable needs of population. Where practices are struggling to maintain a clinical workforce with the necessary skillmix, they can seek support from NHS England and their local CCGs. The Department is investing £40 million over four years targeted at supporting practice resilience.