West Midlands Facing Crisis in General Practice

NHS bosses responsible for planning healthcare in the West Midlands region have suggested that approximately 50% of doctors could retire or reduce their hours within the next five years.

This stark warning is contained in the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Sustainability and Transformation plan.

Thus, the plan for the West Midlands concludes that there is a major threat of insufficient primary care staff in the region.

The STP research concluded that “42% of West Midlands GP workforce expect to retire or reduce hours in the next five years”.

Despite this, the STP group pledged that by 2020, GPs “will have more time to focus on patient care by reducing the administration and developing the primary care skill mix”.

And the plan said physician assistants and advanced practitioners would be hired to “free up GPs to spend more time on patients with most complex needs”.

Health leaders in the West Midlands also concluded that an “inability to resolve fundamental barriers for primary care relating to indemnity and property liability that will compromise their ability to engage with partners in new models of care or contracting arrangements” would be a major problem for the region as well.

There are also concerns that there will be insufficient engagement from both clinicians and the general public.

West Midlands plans also hope to deliver more joined up and collaborative services via “local primary care working ‘at scale’, developed through a ‘bottom-up’ approach with practices working in partnership with community pharmacy, third sector and public sector services as well as community and mental health services”.

The plan noted some of the most important aspects of sustainability and transformation for the West Midlands area.

“[T]he ability of primary care to continue to meet the changing needs of our population is at risk. Our approach will include investment from the transformation fund to ensure primary care remains sustainable and at the heart of delivery. Our out of hospital care models will be based around the GP lists for local populations and this will support a shift of resource to enable out of hospital care to be a reality. New models will build on what is already working well and will embed social prescribing, health improvement and self-management, utilising digital solutions where possible to provide these at scale and support demand management in primary care”.

The STP was finalised by collaboration beween Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, NHS Herefordshire CCG, NHS Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG, NHS South Worcestershire CCG, NHS Wyre Forest CCG, Vye Valle NHS Trust, Worcestershire Councy Council, Herefordshire County Council, 2gether NHS Foundation Trust and Worcestershire Health and Care.

This latest revelations about the West Midlands region are symptomatic of the fact that 34% of doctors are considering retiring in the next five years, according to surveys.


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