Council urged to tackle GP crisis by advertising ‘attractions’ of Islington

Islington Town Hall. Photograph: Islington Council

Islington Council is to receive a recommendation encouraging them to advertise the upsides of living and working in the borough in the face of an approaching crisis in GP recruitment.

According to the borough’s clinical commissioning group (CCG), a “significant number” of local GPs are due to retire within the next ten years, and the high cost of living and housing in the area could be an impediment to easy hires.

It was recently reported that at least 146 urgent care shifts around the country in 2018 did not have a single GP.

A report by Islington’s Health and Care Scrutiny Committee, chaired by Cllr Osh Gantly (Lab, Highbury East), states: “There is an ageing profile of GPs in the borough, and there is a need to address demographic change, the expectations of the younger generation of GPs and the need to develop increased integrated networks of staff, and to build resilience amongst the GP community.

“In addition, the provision of alternative therapies, and the development of teams of staff within practices, such as physiotherapists and pharmacists, can assist in alleviating the workload of GPs and ‘free up’ time for improving access to patients to GPs.

“The attractions of Islington to work and live we feel can also be marketed to recruit younger GPs to the borough. However the high cost of housing and living may limit such recruitment.”

The committee’s report aims to consider how sustainable general practice currently is in the borough in the face of rising demand and population growth.

Councillors also plan to recommend that the CCG, GP Federation and council planning department work together to ensure that premises are allocated for new surgeries where necessary in new housing developments in the borough.