It is no secret that the NHS is desperately in need of doctors, nurses, specialists, beds, funding… well, everything. A combination of the consequences of cut-backs, negative press, low staff morale and EU nationals leaving in the aftermath of Brexit means health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has a huge job on his hands to attract professionals to the NHS.
- GP levels have reached an all-time low with as many as 1 in 8 positions unfilled.
- Increasingly, practices are giving up on finding GPs to fill positions
- Figures show at least £1 million patients are unable to get an appointment
- Percentage of those waiting to see a GP has risen to 56% in the last 5 years
Now, after all the years of cut-backs and pay freezes imposed on the service, the latest idea is to offer trainee GPs a £20,000 “golden hello.”
The money will be offered as an enticement to take up positions in parts of the UK that are struggling the most to find healthcare staff. These areas will be granted access to central funds so they can pay the £20,000 lump sum, in advance of the £54,000 annual salary.
New taxation rules on doctors’ pensions meant that many doctors took early retirement before the new rules came into effect. This has also hampered the government’s drive to recruit 5,000 new doctors by 2020.
Since the government announced their recruitment drive, GP numbers have actually fallen.
This week Mr Hunt told the Royal College of GPs (RCGP): “By introducing targeted support for vulnerable areas and tackling head on critical issues such as higher indemnity fees and the recruitment and retention of more doctors, we can strengthen and secure general practice for the future”.