THERE are fears over the shortages of GPs across the south after a new survey reveals 30 per cent of practices are under-staffed.

It was conducted by Wessex Local Medical Committees (LMC), which represents over 3000 GPs working in 480 practices across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Bath, North East Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire.

It found that 30 per cent of surgeries are short of GPs, and in the past 12 months 66 per cent had a GP vacancy, and of those, 28 per cent failed to recruit. It also revealed that 54 per cent had a Practice Nurse vacancy in the past 12 months, and 20 per cent failed to fill the position, with 27 per cent of surgeries currently short of Practice Nurses.

Dr Nigel Watson, chief executive of Wessex LMC, said the findings came as no surprise.

“The results should be a wake-up call to all,” he said.

“For many practices the problem of recruitment goes beyond just GPs. Practice Managers have been saying for some time that their job has become impossible, with more bureaucracy, rising workload and reduced funding. It is therefore no surprise that in the next 12 months over 20 per cent of managers plan to leave the profession or reduce their commitment.”

He added: “General practice is facing the greatest challenge in a generation. Solutions need to be found urgently, if not the result would be unthinkable.”

The results were gathered by surveying individual GPs and practice managers.