Cornish village launches a campaign video to find a new GP
#WillYouBeMyGP? Residents of a picturesque Cornish fishing village launch a campaign video to find a new GP after their current one quit
- People living in Mevagissey on the east coast of Cornwall filmed the video
- They said their village is charming with lots of places to go and things to do
- The current GP is resigning and surgery may close if no replacement is found
- Mevagissey is six miles (10km) from the closest town, St Austell
A small village in Cornwall has filmed a campaign video to try and attract a new head GP as it faces the closure of its existing surgery.
People in Mevagissey, on the east coast of the county close to St Austell, filmed the video as part of their #WillYouBeMyGP campaign.
The current doctors’ surgery, which has around 5,300 patients, could be shut down when its current partner leaves, because a replacement hasn’t been found.
If it does, residents say they may have to travel six miles (9.6km) to the nearest town in an area where public transport is poor, hitting elderly people and those who don’t drive.
A crowd of local people took part in the video in which a councillor said: ‘We love our GP, we love Mevagissey surgery… we need that service to continue’
Mevagissey is a fishing village with a population of around 4,000 people on the east coast of Cornwall. Its residents say it is beautiful with plenty of places to eat and drink, clubs to join, and has charming countryside surrounding it
In their four-minute clip, which has been watched more than 14,000 times on Facebook, local residents try to sell the job with clips of the picturesque harbour village which is ‘a lovely place for people to move to’.
The bay is filled with small fishing boats, surrounded by green hills and filled with quaint white houses.
But people are worried their health may suffer if they can’t find a doctor to run the surgery in the village.
The current GP and only managing partner, Dr Katherine James, announced she will leave at the end of July.
In the clip a local parish councillor from the nearby village of Gorran Haven, Michael, said: ‘We’re a very rural area – it’s a farming community and a fishing community.
‘For us to get to St Austell to the doctor’s surgery would be a half-an-hour walk to the bus stop and then an hour’s bus ride, so you’re looking at a three-hour round trip.’
People are worried about how those who don’t drive and elderly people with serious health conditions could cope with having to make regular trips to the nearest town.
The NHS ran a survey on people’s feedback on how to manage health services in the area if the surgery is forced to close, with the results expected soon.
Mevagissey is one of dozens of communities which face losing, or have lost, their GP surgeries in recent years.
Mevagissey is about six miles (9.6km) from the closest town of St Austell, but residents say public transport is slow and people who can’t drive who are elderly may struggle to get medical care if their GP surgery closes down
Last year a record 138 surgeries in England closed down, research by GP magazine Pulse reported in May, up from just 18 closures in 2013.
Doctors are facing growing workloads as the population gets bigger, older and suffers from more complex health conditions – but the profession is struggling to recruit new family doctors.
The Royal College of General Practitioners said in November that 762 practices across the UK were at risk of closing by 2023.
A woman appearing in the Mevagissey video with her daughters and elderly mother said: ‘The amount of people that are registered at that surgery, where are we going to go? Who’s going to take us?’
Residents advertise their fishing village with claims of a range of places to eat and drink, clubs and activities and plenty of charming countryside nearby.
Michael, the local councillor, added: ‘We love our GP, we love Mevagissey surgery… we need that service to continue and we need a GP here to come to our beautiful community and to look after us.’
Part of the trouble of a modernising NHS may be that rural communities have different needs to those in urban areas, leaving them in more difficulty.
And GPs may feel less motivated to become partners, who are responsible for running the business as well as treating patients, and lots of paperwork.
A former doctor at Mevagissey surgery, Marlene Behennah, told The Guardian: ‘Every generation does things differently.
‘Things have got to evolve and people have probably got to be prepared to accept a different sort of healthcare.
‘What works for London – drop-in centres and such – doesn’t work for an area like this. Public transport is not good, people can’t travel long distances.’
MORE THAN 700 GP SURGERIES COULD CLOSE BY 2023
More than 2.5 million patients across England could see their GP surgeries close in the next five years, experts revealed in November.
The Royal College of General Practitioners said 762 practices in the UK are at risk of closing within the next five years because at least three quarters of their doctors are aged 55 or over and approaching retirement.
Experts said so many closures would have a ‘catastrophic’ effect on the health service.
Appointment waiting times could get even longer, workloads would grow and more people could end up queueing at A&E for minor illnesses.
Campaigners warned the potential closures would be ‘dangerous’ for patients and are calling for ‘drastic action’ to encourage new GPs to join the profession.
The situation is worst in Southend in Essex, where 13 of the area’s 35 GP practices are at risk of closing, potentially affecting nearly 39,000 patients.
A third of surgeries in the London borough of Havering could shut down, and more than 85,000 patients could lose their GP in Sandwell and West Birmingham.
Only around a quarter of areas of England have no practices at risk of closure, according to the RCGP’s estimates.
Figures from the Royal College of General Practitioners have revealed 762 GP practices across the UK are at risk of closing in the next five years (Map shows the proportion of surgeries in each area which are at risk of closing)
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