Future of the NHS: 'It's impossible being a GP'
Dr Simon Sherwood knows a thing or two about being a GP; he has worked as a doctor for 20 years, but says it has never been this tough.
He is at his desk at 6am and leaves the practice at 7pm. He also works between three and 12 hours each day of the weekend finishing off paperwork.
"We're at crisis point. The workload has increased dramatically, the fact that we cannot recruit to replace people who are leaving, the income having been cut every year for the last eight years, and the demographics of this area which is high demand."
Dr Sherwood is the senior partner at East Lynne Medical Centre in Clacton-on-Sea in Essex.
It is an area with large numbers of elderly people, high deprivation and low employment.
The surgery used to have six full-time GPs but now they are down to the equivalent of 2.5.
The practice has spent £20,000 over the past three years trying to recruit another GP without success.
Dr Sherwood says the idea that the surgery might do more and open up appointments at the weekend is unthinkable, and that if this was to happen his practice "would cease to exist".
04 Sep 2015