A Cornish town has made a Valentine's Day pop song plea for new doctors to care for the community.
With the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) warning that general practice faces a "mass exodus" of doctors over the next five years, with almost 19,000 out of 45,000 GPs and trainees set to quit, Lostwithiel has been taking recruitment matters into its own hands - and voices.
In an attempt to replace a much-loved retiring GP within two weeks, the community has created their own recruitment song and pop video to attract new doctors to their town’s medical practice.
And now the song and video, which aims to persuade GPs to relocate and make a long-term commitment to the close-knit 5,000 strong community, are being promoted on social media on Valentine’s Day – described as "a loving call from a loving community to loving doctors".
The Lostwithiel Needs a Doctor crusade was initiated by Dr Justin Hendriksz, the current remaining practice partner, who felt a more creative approach was needed to find newly-trained or existing GPs to care for the community.
With a pressing two-week deadline, Hendriksz approached Really Lovely Projects, a local arts-led creative CIC, to create a standout campaign that would reach doctors, and importantly touch the hearts of those professionals.
The song, and the campaign seek to show that the community is understanding about the stresses and strains GPs are facing, whilst highlighting the natural beauty and cultural backdrop of the riverside town.
Dr Hendriksz said: “Despite the beauty of rural Cornwall and the lively, positive community of Lostwithiel, as a medical practice we have struggled to recruit new GPs through the usual route of adverts in all of the relevant medical publications.
"We’re all very aware of the alarming number of GPs leaving the sector, so we know we’re not the only practice to be finding it such a challenge to find the right incoming doctors.
"We’re very proud of our historical work and service to our local Lostwithiel community and we really need to find our medical successors to take on our mission of treating patients with the 'right person, in the right place, at the right time'.
“Of course I’m biased, but there really is nowhere better to be a GP, and myself and my outgoing team have always felt beyond valued and appreciated in this very special community.
"The whole community has got behind this idea and I sincerely hope the campaign pop song and video reaches the right people to come and find their ultimate job and home right here in Lostwithiel.”
Norman Pendray, a member of the local community, farmer and brass band leader, who took part in the pop song video, said: "There are many reasons why Lostwithiel Medical Practice is the top one in Cornwall, not least because you can get same day appointments with sympathetic and skilled staff.
"We are extremely fortunate to have such great service and look forward to welcoming Dr Howe’s replacement, and making them very much at home in our special Cornish community.”