Essex faces GP and nurse crisis

Essex is facing a workforce crisis, as some of the worst-hit areas are operating with just over 40 GPs per 100,000 patients and with high numbers of nurses and GPs planning to retire by 2020, the Basildon, Canvey and Southend Echo reports

The Basildon, Canvey and Southend Echo reports that Essex is facing a workforce crisis as some of the worst-hit places in the country – Castle Point and Rochford – have just over 40 GPs per 100,000 patients – 47% of whom are 55 and over.

Tricia D-Orsi, chief nurse for Castle Point and Rochford CCG, told councillors in the Essex Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee:

“We have very high numbers of nurses and GPs who are planning to retire by 2020. It is a crisis.

“For us in Castle Point and Rochford we have the worst numbers for potential recruitment and retention in place for 2020.

“We know that our numbers are the worst in the country.

“So we have worked very hard with all of our GP members to think about how we can deliver a differing offer to patients for the future with the workforce and looking at a service that would be GP led not necessarily GP delivered.”

The number of GPs aged 55 and over is 31.3% in Basildon and Brentwood, 28.3% in Mid Essex, 24.3% in North East Essex, and 21.7% in West Essex.

CCGs in the area are focusing on local recruitment and retention to address the current challenges and to overcome future ones; new initiatives have been introduced – working collectively where possible.

According to the Echo, managers are focusing on recruiting significantly more GPs and practice nurses, to develop new roles and multi-disciplinary teams – recruiting pharmacists, GP assistants and mental health specialists, for example – and boosting recruitment by concentrating on reducing workload and making current roles more attractive.

Caroline Rassell, accountable officer for Mid Essex CCG, said:

“Each CCG has its own workforce plan that is very much built from the needs of its local populations. We are not looking at having the same type of workforce in each cluster or practice.

“If we have an elderly cohort we are looking at GPs with longer appointments to see this type of patients. When it is a more mobile population we are looking at for example physios as a first point.

“There are separate workforce model across all CCGs in mid and south Essex but the aim is to buy, procure and secure the workforce to match the population need.”

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