'We need more permanent GPs'
A leading city GP has called for more permanent family doctors to be recruited to practices.
Professor Azhar Farooqi, a GP in Highfields, said more partners were needed to help look after patients living in Leicester.
He said more partners would help provide better continuity of care for patients and help doctors see more people.
Prof Farooqi, who is also chairman of the Leicester City clinical commissioning group, said: "When I began work we were all partners in our practices.
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"However, a lot of younger doctors coming through don't want partnerships.
"They don't want a long-term career in one place and in the cities, such as Leicester, in particular, probably because the work tends to be more demanding.
"Having GPs in practice does make a difference.
"Most patients like to see the same doctor and see their family doctor as a life-long part of their life.
"If someone is a partner they tend to be around for longer and because they know the patient it helps with consultation times."
Latest figures show that there are just over 121 full-time GP partners in the city.
There are a further 56 salaried GPs – doctors employed by practices – and 30 long-term locum doctors looking after 374,383 registered patients, along with specialist nurses.
Plans are being put together to create more "training" practices in the city – GP surgeries which take on responsibility for training new GPs.
Prof Farooqi said: "We have about eight at the moment and want to double that number.
"It takes about three years to set up each new training practice to make sure the staff and facilities are in place.
"But if we have more doctors training in the city the more likely it is that they will stay."
The move has been welcomed by city councillor Paul Westley, chairman of the patient participation group at the Baxter Close surgery in Beaumont Leys.
He said: "People want to see their regular GP.
"They get used to them and get to know them."
Health campaigner, Zuffar Haq, a member of the Leicester Mercury Patients' Panel, said: "I am sure that having more partners would help patients."