The Journal Opinion: Drop in GP numbers is alarming

The Journal opinion column for Thursday, September 25, 2014: A crisis looms in GP services, according to a group of prominent family practitioners

Dr George Rae at his Whitley Bay surgery with a patient
Dr George Rae at his Whitley Bay surgery with a patient

Prominent family practitioners are warning of an impending crisis in GP surgeries as the number of doctors leaving their jobs continues to greatly outstrip newcomers to the crucial role in our health provision.

In an open letter sent to this newspaper, the GPs say that the gap between retention and recruitment rates has reached an alarming level.

And, given that it takes around a decade to train a GP, they are adamant that only addressing this situation urgently will avoid serious problems for patients.

For most of us, GPs remain our frontline health service providers and we should also be alarmed by the prospect of not being able to see a family doctor when we need to because there aren’t enough of them.

A general election is around the corner and we would urge all political parties to ensure finding a solution to this frightening problem is at the top of their list of promises regarding our health services.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer