Bath’s GP retirement ‘time bomb’

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Time for a bit more government emphasis on recruiting new doctors says Bath MP Wera Hobhouse after Liberal Democrat research reveals that more than one in five family doctors are nearing retirement age.

In the B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board (ICB) alone, 21% of GPs are nearing retirement age, and 31 are over 60 years old.

Nationally, the analysis of NHS figures shows that almost 8,000 fully qualified GPs are over 55, making up 22% of the total. Of these, 3,700 (10%) were aged 60 or more while 1,470 (4%) were aged over 65. It comes as previous polling has found that almost half (47%) of GPs said they intend to retire at or before 60.

The Liberal Democrats say the Conservatives have failed to recruit the extra GPs that were promised in their 2019 manifesto. Instead, the number of fully qualified and full-time GPs has fallen by 2,165 since September 2015.

Wera Hobhouse, MP for Bath

Ms Hobhouse is calling for an increase in training places for GPs, introducing reforms to retain experienced doctors and staff, and launching a recruitment drive to encourage those who have left the NHS to return.

She said:

“Bath is facing a GP retirement time bomb that would make it even harder to get an appointment when you need one.

“The government has neglected our local health services and broken their promise to recruit more GPs. Their inaction has left far too many people in our community struggling to see their GP and get the care they need.

“The Liberal Democrats have set out a clear plan to tackle these major recruitment and retention issues. There is no time to waste in finally recruiting the extra GPs this government promised before this crisis gets even worse.”