Campaign to attract more GPs to Great Yarmouth

The group of family doctors which will be taking over responsibility for Great Yarmouth and Waveney’s healthcare have launched a campaign to attract extra GPs to the area.

HealthEast CIC (Community Interest Company), the pathfinder GP consortium, wants to recruit 10 extra GPs to join the 27 practices in the group to help with the government’s NHS plans to make groups of GPs organise and manage local health services.

The consortium says increasing the number of GPs will boost general practice in the area, but it will also mean GPs will not just be restricted to practice work and will be able to use their clinical expertise to redesign services for patients or carry out specialist duties, such as in the James Paget University Hospital accident and emergency department.

For example, the existing specialist duty for GPs at the James Paget is a pilot scheme which started in January and sees GPs on a rota provide help at the Emergency Admissions and Discharge Unit (EADU) at key times. The GP is available to assess some arrivals, arrange tests and even ensure patients can get home again. It eases the pressure on the number of patients waiting to be seen – and means that less serious cases do not need to be admitted to hospital if the doctor can resolve the problem.

Dr John Stammers, chairman of HealthEast, said: “Clinical leadership is central to our plans and we need more GPs of all levels of experience and specialties to strengthen even more our high quality general practice. We want the best and most enthusiastic doctors on board with us.”

However, HealthEast’s approach has been criticised by union Unison, which said it “flies in the face” of the ‘pause and listen’ approach being taken by the government.

Noel Glover, from Unison’s Eastern office, said: “GP consortia are not required to work together and what we see here is the start of a competitive environment between local providers – with some thriving and others not.”

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As well as planning for the NHS restructuring, HealthEast says that there are vacancies at practices and it makes more sense to pool resources to promote the posts jointly, whereas in the past each practice would have advertised its own vacancy.

? A recruitment event will be on Friday, May 13, at Dunston Hall, just outside Norwich, but the practices and potential recruits will spend time in the HealthEast area to show the advantages of the location.

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