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'Crisis' as region loses 100 GPs in just one year.

THE West Midlands has lost more than 100 GPs in just over a year - as the number of patients soars.

NHS data reveals the region had 1,586 full-time equivalent GPs at the end of June this year - the latest figures available - down from 1,476 in March 2016.

At the same time, the number of patients registered with a GP in the West Midlands went up by more than 50,000.

The news comes after the British Medical Association (BMA), the organisation representing the country's GPs, warned a chronic shortage of doctors was putting patient care at risk.

The data, published by NHS England, shows that Solihull has seen the biggest percentage decline in full-time equivalent GPs.

The area had 149 in March 2016 but only 128 at the end of June this year, a drop of 14 per cent.

Patient numbers in Solihull rose by 4,475 to 243,996 over that period.

That means each full-time GP is responsible for an average of 1,941 patients. GP numbers fell by 13 per cent in Walsall, nine per cent in Wolverhampton, eight per cent in Dudley, five per cent in the Birmingham Cross-City area, four per cent in Birmingham South and Central and two per cent in Sandwell and West Birmingham.

The total number of patients registered with a GP in the West Midlands stood at 2,696,426 in March 2016 but 2,747,383 by the end of June this year.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the BMA council chair, said last month it was "deeply concerning" that there had been a drop-off at every stage of doctors' training.

He added: "We know that many doctors are struggling with unsustainable workloads in an NHS that is understaffed and chronically underfunded.

"This has a huge impact on their morale and wellbeing, often leading to stress and burnout. Brexit also poses a new risk, with almost half of EU doctors considering leaving the NHS following the referendum result.

"With an NHS at breaking point, if the government doesn't get to grips with this workforce crisis, the NHS will struggle to attract and retain staff, and patient care will suffer as a result."

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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 30, 2017
Words:362
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