The Rural Services Network is encouraging people to sign a petition, warning that GP practices in rural areas are struggling to recruit doctors
Launched on 19 September, the petition calls on the government to put general practitioners on the Home Office’s ”shortage occupation list”. At 10,000 signatures, the government will respond to the petition. At 100,000 signatures, the petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.
Started by Lincolnshire GP Ben Loryman, the petition says many rural surgeries facing recruitment difficulties, are being forced to close. “There are many GPs from outside the EU who would like to work in the UK,” says the petition. “However, practices can’t offer them a job without going though the visa bureaucracy, and the NHS is losing many good doctors as a result.”
The government has repeatedly warned that a shortage of rural GPs has left rural patients waiting weeks to see their local doctor. The Rural Services Network is backing calls for government action to help recruit more GPs and other health professionals to work in the countryside.
Rural Services Network Chief Executive, Graham Biggs MBE said: “The situation is so bad that some rural patients are having to wait the best part of a month to see a doctor.”
Earlier this year, it emerged that a shortage of doctors meant patients in part of rural Lincolnshire must wait four weeks to see a GP. Other rural communities are also suffering from a shortage of doctors. In April, Dr David Davies, who works in rural West Somerset, said it was a struggle to recruit new staff with many current GPs approaching retirement. Dr Davies said his surgery had spent more than a year trying to recruit a new GP but it had proved difficult to find someone who wanted to live and work in the area.
If you would like to sign the petition the link is here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/200523
The petition will run until 19 March 2018