Councillors’ concern over doctor shortage

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  • Shock claim of one doctor per 4,500 patients in some places

The NHS is battling to solve a chronic shortage of GPs in many areas of East Lindsey, it has been claimed.

It is understood the ratio of doctors to patients in some areas is one to 4,500.

That is more than double the national average of one doctor per 2,000 patients.

The shock news comes despite claims the NHS has been offering a ‘golden welcome’ package to attract new GPs to the area.

The figures were disclosed after a representative of the NHS met members of Horncastle Town Council.

Feedback from that meeting was discussed at this month’s Town Council meeting which was attended by ELDC leader Craig Leyland.

Town councillor Brian Burbidge revealed the NHS had confirmed that at one stage, there were two doctors for 9,000 NHS patients in Horncastle.

Mayor Coun Angela Birchall described the figures as ‘extremely worrying’ - particularly as the population of Horncastle is set to increase because of new housing developments.

It is understood several communities in East Lindsey have encountered problems attracting new GPs,

Coun Leyland said he was concerned about the situation, adding: “I know the number of GPs is an issue in many areas - not 
just East Lindsey.

“There is a ‘golden welcome‘ scheme operating but I’m not aware whether it has been a success.”

The ‘golden welcome’ offers a series of incentives designed to attract new GPs to a specific area.

Reports suggest recruiting new doctors has been a particular problem in many coastal communities.

However, there are signs of an improvement at the Marisco Medical Centre practice in Mablethorpe.

Recently appointed director of operations and practice manager Ian Blakey admitted it had been difficult attracting new doctors, but said a 
possible way forward was a reliance on more ANPs (Advanced Nurse Practitioners).

The practice now has five full time ANPs and four GPs, and Mr Blakey said complaints 
had reduced by 70 per cent.

It has also been claimed that the NHS is missing out on funding for improvements - because of a lack of staff.

Major housing developments include provision for ‘Section 106’ agreements which effectively tie developers to paying 
pre-agreed sums of money 
to boost local services.

However, a recent application for 300 homes in Horncastle was given the go-ahead - without any application for NHS funding.

It is claimed the size of the development could have led to a £250,000 contribution.

Coun Burbidge said the NHS only has one-part time member of staff dealing with 106 agreements across 
the East Midlands.

The News put the various claims to NHS England, which provided a statement shortly before we went to press. Read the full statement below.