NEWLY-QUALIFIED doctors are not coming to work in the Portsmouth area, according to a leading GP.
That is the stark warning from Dr David Chilvers, the lead for the Fareham and Gosport Clinical Commissioning Group.
Today, as part of a week-long investigation into a looming GP crisis, The News looks at whether enough doctors are being trained and want to work in the area.
Dr Chilvers said that for the first time ever, Health Education Wessex, which oversees training in Hampshire, failed to fill all posts first time round.
He said: ‘There are very few new GPs in the pipeline.
‘For the first time ever the deanery locally did not fill all training spots the first time round and had to re-advertise.
‘Also those GPs that train locally aren’t planning on staying on.
‘They are either planning on becoming a doctor in another part of the country, going abroad or leaving the profession altogether.
‘This is worrying considering the number of early retirements that are due to take place.’
Training to become a GP is a 10-year process.
After completing A-levels, a trainee will go to university and do a five-year degree course in medicine.
After that they must complete a two-year foundation course where they will work in two or three specialist areas, such as gynaecology or general practice.
If the trainee decides they want to become a GP, they then carry out a further three years of training in this field, including a year at a practice.
Once the candidate receives their certificate of training the doctor can go on to become a practice partner, salaried GP or locum.
Dr Nigel Watson is chief executive of the Wessex Local Medical Committee, which looks after practices in south east Hampshire.
He said: ‘We have doctors that want to retire before they turn 60, and trainees going to work elsewhere because they don’t find it appealing to stay on in this country.
‘Many have said it is because of the intensity of the workload, whereas places like New Zealand are more appealing.
‘This has been going on for a few years and now the service is reaching breaking point.’
However, the deanery in charge of the Wessex area said that recruitment and training is not a problem.
Paul Holmes, managing director, Health Education Wessex, said: ‘GP training places have been filled for the last two years in the Portsmouth area and we promote the region as a good place to train, live and work.
‘Across the Portsmouth area we also offer good support for newly qualified GPs in their first year in practice, whether they trained in Wessex or trained in another region and have been recruited to the area.’
Dr Jim Hogan, lead for the Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group, thinks that practices should do more to support trainee doctors.
He said: ‘I think some GPs coming into the profession are disillusioned.
‘Perhaps we don’t nurture trainees as much as we used to.
‘If we improved that then maybe enough of them would see it through to the end.
‘Also working in a hospital seems to be more appealing than general practice.’