GP Federation is ‘working hard’ to find more doctors for Haverhill practice

Paul Driscoll, medical director and chairman of Suffolk GP Federation
Paul Driscoll, medical director and chairman of Suffolk GP Federation

Suffolk GP Federation is using a number of initiatives to help it recruit more GPs at the Christmas Maltings and Clements practice in Haverhill.

Dr Paul Driscoll, Chair and Medical Director of the Federation outlined the steps it is taking to address the practices’ current shortage of GPs, where, as revealed last week, only four out of the seven full-time posts are currently filled.

Dr Driscoll said recruiting and retaining GPs is a national problem, with more retiring than entering the profession at the moment.

He added: “Unfortunately, longer working days and increased workloads are taking their toll on the profession, with many GPs suffering from stress and ‘burn out’ and others unwilling to take on the responsibility of becoming a partner and running a practice.

“Suffolk GP Federation is committed to tacking this challenge and we have been working hard alongside our local clinical commissioning groups and other organisations to make a career in general practice more attractive.

“As the number of GPs decreases it is important to introduce new skill sets to the practice.

“Christmas Maltings and Clements is pioneering this approach with its use of pharmacists, nurses, Emergency Care Practitioners and from January Physician Associates.

“Christmas Maltings and Clements Practice is also advertising for a new GP role which combines clinical work with dedicated time for either practice development or a position in the Federation – something that we hope will be more attractive to younger GPs.

“We have also introduced a series of initiatives to help promote career development and recruitment, which we hope will increase the numbers of both newly qualified and senior GPs attracted to work in Suffolk.

“This includes leadership courses for both GPs and nurses and peer support groups for newly qualified doctors.

“We also run workshops for GPs who are about to retire, highlighting the options available and practicalities of stepping down from a full-time post.

“This has resulted in several GPs joining our service and working in different roles, ensuring their skills and expertise are not lost.”