Solo docs in Britain becoming increasingly rare

January 23, 2009

Even with a single-payer, government-operated health system, it's tough for solo doctors to make a go of it in Great Britain.

Even with a single-payer, government-operated health system, it's tough for solo doctors to make a go of it in Great Britain. One in 10 solo general practitioners who are part of the United Kingdom's National Health Service either retired or merged with another practice last year, according to the British medical newspaper The Pulse.

In 56 of the country's 150 primary care trusts-regional authorities that manage local medical offices on behalf of the government-50 solo practices closed during the past 12 months. The newspaper estimates that a total of 200 solo practices had disappeared around the country.

The newspaper attributes some of the departures to the country's Fairness in Primary Care initiative, a program that requires practices to expand hours and add new services in order to reach more patients, a difficult move for a solo doctor.