Friday, April 21, 2017

GP Shortage impacts Healthcare in Redbridge

A critical shortage of GPs (local surgery Doctors) has been highlighted by Dr Metha, the Chair of the Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), as having an adverse impact on healthcare at King George Hospital.

The problem, explained Dr Metha, is that patients who cannot get an appointment with a GP turn up at King George Hospital putting further pressure on already stretched resources. Dr Metha went on to say that the average GP list size in Redbridge is 2600 whereas in some other boroughs it is as low as 1700. The situation is set to get worse with GPs retiring and not being replaced.

Andy Walker, a local health campaigner, said: “There is strong evidence that overcrowded A&E departments lead to worse patient outcomes, including longer stays in hospital and worse mortality rates (1). So we need more GPs in Redbridge as a matter of urgency to ease the pressure on King George A&E”.

Mr Walker has organised a Public Meeting on Thursday 11 May 2017 in the Gloucester room, Central Library Ilford, to discuss what needs to be done to improve the situation. The leader of the council, Jas Athwal, has committed to provide a statement on the GP issue for this meeting. It is hoped that Redbridge CCG will send a representative or provide a written statement.

The Inner London Clinical Commissioning Group Board Papers earlier this week contained: (2).
“Workforce - Summary In order to meet the shortfall of supply of GPs in EL, (high retirement rates and a shortage of available new GPs) and to develop a more efficient, patient-centred service, we will need to develop and increase the numbers of practice nurses, physician associates and pharmacists to provide a full multi-disciplinary team (MDT) workforce model. We are currently on target to deliver physician associate training placements in 2017 and a workforce supply in 2019. We have a pharmacist pilot programme in Newham GP practices and will look to expand this across TST in 2017-18.”
Mr Walker was not impressed, saying, “This seems an inferior GP service to the current one and it must be a concern that a similar GP downgrade is being planned for Redbridge. Cutting the number of GPs in East London is bound to drive more patients towards private GP consultations, which is likely to further reduce the number of NHS GPs available (3).

He went on “It is puzzling that current regulations seem to stop a single handed GP starting up from scratch in Redbridge in a converted house. Purpose built, multi-disciplinary and multi-partner surgeries may be better than single GP practices, but they are not happening in sufficient numbers to tackle the GP shortage”.


  1. It's Dr. Mehta, B21, not Metha. Shame on you. As for the rest of the blog - all perfectly true. But the quoted reasons are somewhat suspect because it's really all about the money, innit ?

  2. Melvyn Weinberg MBE2:53 pm, April 25, 2017

    As the former chair of the Redbridge CCG Forum and a long standing chairman of a large practice PPG group, I hope you will allow me to make the following comments on the current situation:-

    - We are facing a great shortage of G P's, with the position likely to get worse with the retirement of older G P's
    - Many practices find it very difficult to recruit qualified practice nurses.
    - There is also a shortage of District nurses.
    - Many local practices struggle to cope with existing demand.
    - The population of Redbridge is predicted to rise significantly over the next 5 to 10 years, yet the health infrastructure to cope is just not keeping pace.
    - I cannot see how the proposed closure of King George A & E will help the situation. Queens is already under special measures and, is only just coping with its own local the current demand.
    - I question if the Secretary of State has really taken into account the predicted population growth.
    - More and more flats are being built, with no thought as to how local general practice and the local NHS will cope.
    - Far to often money is dictating clinical policy.
    - It is more than possible that the current CCG set up will be done away with, resulting in yet more upheaval in he NHS.

    Best Wishes

    Melvyn Weinberg MBE

  3. Although I was only Chairman of the Health Scrutiny Committee for 6 months, during that time the issue of GP's and their shortage was discussed at virtually every meeting. People will remember the PCT/CCG closing the surgery in The Drive with a week's notice to patients, the same thing happened with the Spearpoint Gdns surgery.
    As for where Axon Place is in the centre of Ilford, the Planning Committee at the time sought to have one of the 'shop' units as a GP surgery. The offer was turned down by the PCT/CCG because they said it was NOT NEEDED. At the same time they closed down a surgery in Loxford Ward and I remember Filly Maravala being extremely cross about it....
    I find it rich that the CCG are now moaning about the shortage of GP's when they themselves have to shoulder some of the blame for this situation. And no, they can't run a celebration in a brewery either.

  4. Firstly, I agree with Anonymous on every point.

    Perhaps Dr. Mehta might like to look into his own soul (ie. his own Practise at Tomswood Hill) for some root causes to the problem he writes about.

    I am talking about the inability of people trying to get an appointment at his Surgery. Since the practise brought in the “you phone us first / we’ll phone you back” policy (in March 2015) many have experienced the inability to actually get an appointment, hence they go to A&E. I myself have tried phoning – believe me I have tried phoning – even left a message or two. And Nobody from the surgery phoned me back. FAIL.

    Of course, the Surgery will tell you “the system was brought in because of Government policy.... we were forced to bring in that system by the local CCG”. And who would be the Chair of that CCG? Why, it’s Dr. Mehta, of course.