Senior doctor warns of ‘GP time-bomb’

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A senior doctor has said that a GP shortage ‘time-bomb’ means local NHS services will be unsustainable in the future.

Alan Brook, a GP in Rastrick and chairman of Calderdale NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), has said an ageing population and a reduction in the number of required GPs means that the current health system in the district must change with the times.

Dr Brook said: “We have got a bit of a time-bomb in terms of doctors reaching retirement age and a lack of supply at the other end, so we have a lot unfilled places on the local GP training scheme.

“The shortage of GPs and A&E consultants is a growing problem - there simply aren’t enough doctors to spread around Accident and Emergency departments.

“You’re going to have casualty departments without the specialist staff behind them to deal with people who are seriously ill - and that’s not what anybody wants.”

Since July the CCG has been considering plans outlined in Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust’s Strategic Review which includes a downgrading of local A&E provision and more healthcare provided within communities.

Dr Brook said: “We have to be satisfied as a CCG that what we’re doing is a step forward, not a step backward.

“The role of A&E is something which is under a lot of development at the moment.

“ I can’t see a future where there isn’t some sort of emergency centre in Halifax.

“They will all look different in the future to the current A&E departments - they’re out-of-date and they don’t fit with modern medicine.”

Dr Brook said the work is still ongoing, and the details are still being worked out by the CCG and will be put to consultation when completed.

He said: “We’re not going to be putting anything to the public that we don’t think is safer than the current system.”