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Surgery emergency; Shortage of 10,000 family docs by 2020; 600 GP practices may be forced to close.

Byline: VICTORIA MURPHY

PATIENTS' lives could be put at risk because of a chronic shortage of GPs and surgeries.

The Royal College of General Practitioners warned almost 600 practices across the UK could face closure by 2020, with a shortfall of almost 10,000 GPs as the population grows and ages.

The professional body for family doctors said unless "drastic action" is taken, thousands of patients could be left without a family doctor or forced to travel miles to their nearest surgery.

The RCGP fears that in just four years' time England will be 8,371 GPs short, with Wales missing 424 GPs.

Scotland will have a deficit of 830 GPs and Northern Ireland 316.

College chair Dr Maureen Baker said: "It is imperative we recruit huge numbers of medical students and foundation doctors into general practice in order to keep the NHS on its feet."

RISK

She added: "If we fail, there will be too few GPs to go round, practices will close and patient safety in general practice will clearly be at risk."

Practices largely run by doctors aged 55 and over are most at risk of closure.

The RCGP has launched a video and guide called Think GP to try to entice medical and sixth-form students into general practice by dispelling the myth GPs only treat coughs and colds.

Dr Baker said: "TV programmes like Holby City and Casualty show hospitals as the only exciting places to be a doctor, but the reality is very different.

"GPs look after patients throughout their lives and are an important part of local communities."

victoria.murphy@mirror.co.uk

VOICE OF THE MIRROR: PAGE 8

There will be too few GPs and patients will be put at risk DR MAUREEN BAKER COLLEGE OF PRACTIONERS

CAPTION(S):

FRONT LINE GPs are first point of call for poorly

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 19, 2016
Words:306
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