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Jobs bombshell as 7,000 GPs set to quit within 2 years

More than 7,000 GPs are set to retire or quit in the next two years, a major Pulse survey has revealed.

Some 17 per cent of GPs responding to a survey marking the second anniversary of the new contract said they planned to leave the profession before 2007/8. Eight per cent said they intended to go in the next 12 months with a further 9 per cent the following year.

The shocking figures are the strongest evidence yet of the retirement timebomb set to hit general practice once pension increases from the new contract have filtered through.

Dr Andrew Dearden, chair of the BMA's pensions committee, said the new contract had persuaded many of the UK's 42,500 GPs to hang on for the last two years. Further efforts by the Government to cut the cost of the new contract would lead more to resign, he added.

Dr Dearden said: 'If the Government does that again Pulse's figures could be an underestimate.'

Recent Department of Health figures showed a 9 per cent increase in the number of GPs in England aged over 55. Similar figures for Wales were also reported this week.

In addition to those planning to retire, many of the

first 320 GPs to respond to

the survey said they planned

to quit because of uncontrollable workload, Government targets and 'tick-box' medicine.

Dr Lonan Magfhogartai, a 58-year-old GP in Fintona, Co. Tyrone, plans to retire this year.

He said: 'I thought things would settle down after the new contract but there are always new guidelines, pressures and new targets. It's just change, change, change and it's time to get off the boat.'

Dr Asif Mirza, a 63-year-old GP in Coventry, had planned to stay until 65, but said his workload was enormous and patient demand insatiable. He now plans to quit this year.

'I love my job but it's getting too much.'

Dr Alison Blake, a 55-year-old GP in Droitwich, Worcestershire, who also plans to retire this year, had intended to

stay on until 60 and develop a special interest in dermatology.

She said workload had increased horrendously and she had had a 'lot of hassle' over premises. She added: 'You get to a stage where it's not worth the angst.'

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