By JONATHAN FINE
Last year I reported on the growing demand for private GP services which could be provided easily in dental practices with spare capacity. Demand continues to increase and the lucrative business opportunity is only becoming more appealing for entrepreneurial dentists.
For anyone working in the NHS, doctors in particular, the last week of 2014 will have felt much like the first with yet another bad news headline, this one on the Sunday Times front page: 300 patients a day have surgery axed.
The article was followed by this on page four: ‘Doctors on the cheap’ to ease NHS staff crisis. The story is there isn’t enough doctors either in general practice or emergency services and patients are suffering as a result.
The articles cite unpublished Health Education England data showing 14.8 per cent more GPs (an extra 4,755) will be recruited by 2020. Yet many well-briefed doctors think twice that number are needed to cut waiting times and provide more appointments.
Even to meet the 14.8 per cent target, half of all graduates will need to go straight into general practice and in the meantime health chiefs have already been offering GPs £20,000 ‘golden hellos’ in an attempt to fill empty posts – suggesting a level of desperation already.
Problems with service delivery are legion, highlighted most recently with queues forming before dawn at Sunbury Health Centre in Surrey as patients struggle to see a doctor.
More and more frustrated patients unable to see their GP have been going to A&E instead, putting strain on those services while they sit for whole days in waiting rooms in discomfort with little or no information.
For anyone choosing to go to A&E as an alternative to their GP, they can expect the rather grim experience to get worse. According to the Workforce Plan for England report, the low number of doctors training in emergency medicine in 2014 was “not only a threat to the future growth of the consultant workforce, but also a clear and present risk to today’s service delivery” which has “struggled to keep pace with demand”.
So, the situation for the average person trying to see their GP for an appointment remains unsatisfactory and it’s reasonable to expect things to remain so for a few years to come.
If you would like to explore opportunities to recruit a GP to work in your dental practice and service this unprecedented demand, call me on 07860 672727.
PROFITABLE PRIVATE PRACTICE FOR SALE
- 30 minutes travel time from Edinburgh
- Long established
- Retiring principal willing to stay on
- Turnover £600k
- Three surgeries
- Guide price £650k (including property)
Please call Simon on 07770 430576 if you’d like to know more about this Breathe club member.