The UK and Jersey are facing challenges getting enough GPs. The UK BMA stated that GP surgeries across the country were experiencing significant and growing strain with rising demand, practices struggling to recruit staff, and patients having to wait longer for appointments. Meanwhile in Jersey some surgeries are not accepting new patients due to GP shortages.
Local BMA press officer Dr Mat Dorrian said it was a long-term national problem.
‘Being a small island, recruiting staff is always going to be a bit of a challenge, as people have to move here with their families, so it is always a big decision,’ he said.
‘But I am not aware of any particular issues at the moment.’
He said that the practice where he works – Queen’s Road – had successfully recruited several doctors in the last 18 months and he was aware other surgeries had also been successfully finding new staff.
Guernsey currently has just a handful of businesses handling all the GPs surgeries. Dr Dorrian said the challenges with some smaller surgeries was that doctors have to be generalists and had limited chances to specialise. But in Guernsey, doctors were able to specialise within their companies, as these covered a number of surgeries.
Dr Dorrian suggested that this could make Guernsey a more attractive place for GPs to work.
IslandHealth chairwoman Dr Julia Rebstein agreed that the Jersey issue was part of a much bigger, international problem.
‘It may well get more pronounced as a high proportion of GPs working in practices in the UK are also within five years or so of retirement,’ she said.
‘At IslandHealth we’ve been aware of it for a while and are always looking to appoint high quality doctors.’
In the last three months the company has recruited four new doctors, and more were joining the business next year.
‘Looking ahead, recruitment is likely to remain a challenge for general practice,’ Dr Rebstein said.
‘We will continue to offer a stimulating and busy role to doctors who wish to provide care in a great community location like Guernsey.’