20 August

BBC Radio 4 recently broadcast a fascinating two part documentary series about the history of General Practice, entitled Dr Finlay’s Farewell, named after the enormously popular Dr Finlay’s Casebook, a television drama series about a young GP in 1960s rural Scotland.

The popularity of medical TV dramas has never waned although most of them tend to focus on the more dramatic secondary rather than primary care. There are exceptions, such as the long departed Dr Legg in the soap EastEnders  to the more recent drama series about a Cornwall based GP, Doc Martin, featuring the curmudgeonly doctor with his highly entertaining inability to develop even a half decent bedside manner with his hapless patients.

Despite the chequered, fractured and challenging history of General Practice and the many issues that GPS face today, what is overwhelmingly clear is that the respect  trust and the affection that people have for their GPs is as strong today as it ever was. A general practice doctor is usually your first port of call when you or a member of your family are unwell, unless it’s a serious emergency, and you willingly put yourself in their healing hands.

We frequently read reports in the media of GPs retiring early, of leaving the UK to work abroad and about the reluctance of some newly qualified young doctors to enter General Practice. However, the fact is that we still have 15,500 general practitioners working in the NHS and we think we have a lot to thank them for.

As one of the UK’s leading and award winning medical recruitment consultancies, Primary Care Professionals works at the ‘coal face’ of General Practice recruitment. We talk to GPs all day, every day, both in and out of hours. We know how hard it can be to fill a vacancy at short notice if someone is off sick, or the challenge of finding a GP to work in the more deprived or remote areas of the country.

We are aware that many GPs have resorted to becoming locums because they are exhausted from working 14 hour days. We also know how hard it has become for surgeries to find permanent salaried GPs and how Practice Partners struggle to fulfil their desires to help their patients’ medical needs when combined with the problems of also running a successful business, which is what, in effect, GP surgeries have evolved into.

While many GPs may be feeling disillusioned and the healthcare media certainly reflects a lot of dissatisfaction in the primary care profession, our work gives us first hand up to date ‘market research’ information on a daily basis and we make it our job to actually assist our GP clients and candidates to not only improve but also transform the situation.

At Primary Care Professionals we encourage innovation and creativity from our recruitment consultants and from this we have developed a number of initiatives that are really making a difference. One of the first has been our Flat Rate Scheme, whereby General Practice Managers can save up to 50% a year in agency fees

We’ve also been focusing on continuity of care for patients and understand that a succession of different locum practitioners is not very reassuring, especially if the patient has a chronic long term condition. To combat this we have devised an Interim GP solution, whereby the surgery gets a semi permanent doctor who will not only see patients but also integrate as part of the Practice’s team, complete any necessary administration and who is also likely to be available for out of hours care as they will be covered by our own uniquely resourced indemnity insurance policy  http://primarycarep.wpengine.com/insurance

We initially do an analysis of the current workforce and a surgery’s staff numbers, including the GPs, locums, nurses, admin staff etc. We then offer the Practice free advertisements for salaried staff with no recruitment fees required if a GP is appointed as long as the surgery has engaged the services of one our Interim GPs.

As a company we understand that using Interim GPs is not a long term solution to the NHS/ CCG issues and we are developing a long term vision that has the potential to save the NHS millions of pounds. We know that the NHS is working closely with the RCGPs to solve the problems in the primary care sector. On a daily basis we are dedicated to working within the healthcare sector, using our knowledge and expertise to do whatever we can to give our support and ensure that the necessary progress and changes occur.

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