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Four in ten GPs would actively discourage family friends from entering general practice

Only four in ten GPs would advise budding GPs to pursue an interest in a career in general practice, while the same amount would actively discourage it, Pulse can reveal.

A Pulse survey of 526 GPs found that 42% would advise son or daughters of family friends to drop an interest in a career, revealing the full extent of the low morale in the professions.

Many respondents to the Pulse survey cited the long hours, lack of work life balance and overwhelming amount of paper work and administration as reasons to avoid training as a GP.

These findings follow a major BMA survey that revealed that six in ten GPs are considering early retirement and more than half say their morale is either ‘low’ or ‘very low’, while new research by the RCGP revealed that general practice faces a £1.59bn real terms funding cut by 2017 despite predicted patient consultations due to increase by 69 million if current trends continue.

Dr Sanjeev Juneja a GP partner based in Kent said:  ‘I open my practice at 7am in the morning at least four days a week although I am paid for one and a half hours per week for extended opening.’

‘I get up and work from home from 3-4am every morning and on Saturdays and Sundays mow the lawns in the surgery and go through my paperwork.’

‘Would I still advise somebody to become a GP? Well, I would deter anybody from becoming even a doctor…this is the only profession where you are held accountable for everything even the lack of a smile.’

Dr Stuart Buchanan a locum GP covering Scotland and Northern Ireland said he was emigrating to work as a GP in Australia next month and would advise others to do the same.

‘The Government and the general public look down on GPs thanks to the picture that is presented in the Daily Mail, I think you would be better off becoming a bus driver than becoming a GP.’

‘All my colleagues, especially the young ones, are just getting out because general practice in the UK is just in a mess,’ he said.

Dr James LaBouchardiere a salaried GP said: ‘It’s bloody hard work but I still enjoy it and get a lot of satisfaction from it.’

Dr Malcolm Artley a GP partner based in Dulwich, South London, agreed: ‘It’s a rewarding career and interesting job-far better than most other jobs-despite the changes.’

The BMA survey of 420 respondents, launched last week, revealed that six in ten GPs are considering early retirement and more than half say their morale is either ‘low’ or ‘very low’, while almost half the respondents having already made changes or planning to make changes to their work life balance.  

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said he would use the ‘shocking’ results to lobby ministers on the impact of the ongoing drive to keep patients out of hospital, and highlight how funding cuts are threatening to overwhelm general practice.

A separate RCGP poll of patients showed almost two-thirds of respondents believe the sheer volume of consultations taking place are a threat to patient care. RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said last month that general practice is in real danger of ‘extinction’.

Survey results

If you were approached by the son or daughter of a family friend asking for your advice on a career in a general practice, would you advise them to pursue their interest in being a GP?

Yes – 215 (40.87%)

No – 222 (42.21%)

Don’t know – 89 (16.92%)

Readers' comments (40)

  • this evil administration must be destroyed before it destroys the noble profession i joined...i never cease to be amazed by my colleagues...bma rcgp...leadership please...expose the lies

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  • Get out if you can-leave it to The Daily Mail

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  • Get Paul Dacre, the multi-millionaire editor of The Daily Mail to run the NHS. He is a genius, a man of unlimited intellect. He even knows about professions totally unconnected with his life.

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  • My bright daughter works for me in the holidays in the back office and some reception duties. She sees first hand the hours I work and the crap I have to put up with. There is no way on this Earth I could persuade her to do medicine even if I wanted to!

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  • If anyone reads the Sunday Times they had a very negative article last week as well

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  • its fairly simple...if your reading this and considering becoming a GP - don't...if you're a GP considering leaving but worried you wont have enough locum work - don't worry believe me you will... to anyone angry, frustrated and depressed every time they read a national news paper - stop buying the rubbish, let it go, accept that general practice has been screwed, leave and move on - do something else while you can. We all only have one life. Theres nothing noble about having empty angry arguments with fools - its a waste of time - there are better things to be doing

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  • Well, I could have added this to any of the GP misery headlines but chose this as it's the most recent.

    My practice has just today received a letter from retinal screening inviting us to explain why a single retinal screening referral was not received within the first 3 months of pt joining the practice, and that this has been regarded as a 'clinical incident'.

    When I rang them (mildly outraged) to ask who had put them up to this, the manager said it was NHSEngland.

    This is ironic given the failure and backlogs of our local retinal screening service last year when many of our pts missed their appts.

    Crikey, this is obviously the thin end of the wedge and clearly NHSEngland will have a low threshold to involve draconian performance management units and CQC for any perceived underperformance.

    Watch your backs, this can only get worse.

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  • If being a GP is so bloody wonderful, how do journalists explain the recruitment crisis?
    And if being a doctor is so wonderful, why don't young journalists apply to medical school as mature students?
    The media are whipping up hatred of GPs even more than bankers.
    This hatred, propaganda and demonising of people is almost reminiscent of 1930s Germany. It shows the huge risk that the public can be fooled and manipulated by the media for political and idealogical purposes.

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  • Saw the Sunday Times hatchet job . Shameful and misleading

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  • Vinci Ho

    The young ones need to understand:
    (1) it is not about financial reward as in the old school mentality. If you want money , find something else.
    (2) it is the reward of respect from your patients that only counts. You will have a halo on top of your head .
    (3) But then , like most of the religious or action heroes stories, those with the halo on top of their heads suffer the most because of the way the world is. Plus we always have to face up against the hierarchy which wants to fulfil its political agenda. GPs and bureaucrats are always up against each other
    (4) Choice comes with a price, think carefully , all you young Padawans, may the force be with you if you choose to be GP, a Jedi......

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