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Less than a quarter of GP trainees to stay in full-time clinical work, survey finds

Less than a quarter of GP trainees plan to practise full-time one year after qualifying, a think tank survey has revealed.

The survey of 729 GP trainees, conducted by the King’s Fund, found that just 22% of respondents ‘planned to work in full-time clinical general practice one year after qualifying’.

This fell to 5% of trainees planning to practise full-time 10 years after qualifying, with the ‘intensity of the working day’ the most common reason for not doing so.

Half of respondents said they would undertake ‘other clinical NHS work’ alongside their general practice commitments. 

The survey follows on from a 2016 King’s Fund report, which said that 10% of trainees had planned to practise full-time 10 years after qualifying.

The survey also revealed that only 37% of GP trainees said they plan to take up partnerships.

This comes as the Government has launched a review of the partnership model to look at how to reduce premises liabilities and how GP partners can work more like sessionals.

RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said the findings are ‘not a surprise’.

She said: ‘The intense resource and workforce pressures facing general practice at the moment, mean that full-time working as a GP is often regarded as untenable.

She added: ‘It would be misguided and unhelpful for people to criticise the decision of GP trainees not to work full time, and suggest that this is contributing to workforce pressures – it is actually the flexibility that a career in general practice offers that makes it a sustainable career choice.’

Health Education England chief executive Professor Ian Cumming previously said young GPs working fewer hours than their older counterparts has resulted in the equivalent of 10% fewer doctors in the workforce.

However, HEE has said record numbers of GP trainees have been recruited so far, with health bosses expecting to hit their target of 3,250 to start training this year.

Readers' comments (18)

  • ALL our excellent GP trainees who recently completed ST3 seem to have disappeared? (in a desirable location)

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  • I THOUGHT THE GOVERNMENT WERE MALICIOUS BUT NOW REALISE THAT THEY ARE COMPLETELY BARKING MAD AND INCOMPETENT BEYOND BELIEF.

    I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT THE GENERAL PUBLIC HAVE ENTRUSTED THEIR OWN HEALTH WITH THIS GOVERNMENT BUT THEY MADE THAT DELIBERATE CHOICE AND ARE NOW SADLY FACING THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE DECISION.

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  • My daughter started training to be a paediatric nurse some years ago but realised that most of the qualified nurses were unhappy with their job, hours, pay and conditions of work so she left and now works in the food industry for a lot more pay. GP is basically the same, if many of us older GPs have left or plan to leave early the job can't be very appealing to the trainees. I certainly wouldn't recommend it.

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  • Hospital work is also unpopular. Many junior doctors are choosing to become trained in a number of areas and pick portfolio careers.

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  • Four years ago, the two most esteemed local GP trainees (both male and both immigrants) were 'rejected' by the CSA process. Both had been 'lined-up' for practices and both disappeared (its presumed that they both returned to their countries of origin - and presumably in disgust - both would likely have become traditional FT GPs with extra OOHs shifts).

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  • Nice to see the Daily Telegraph taking a break as brexit cheerleader to attack GPs again saying they are overpaid lazy and we don't need them anymore
    They seem to claim that working three and a half days a week earns you £100,000 a year,not true of course but when did that ever stop their lies about doctors

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  • AlanAlmond

    DecorumEst | Salaried GP17 Aug 2018 1:10pm
    I’m not really sure what your point is here. Are you suggesting exam pass rates should be lowered because none wants to do the job hence we should start employing people who are currently failing their exams? Or are you suggesting the lack of workforce is somehow something to do with institutional racism and if only this was fixed, everything would be fine and the country would be swimming with happy smiling hard working brown/black/yellow or otherwise not white GPs?
    I don’t thinks the answer Is to employ people who fail their exams and I really don’t think folk don’t want to work full time because of racism. It’s because the job is too intense and the resources aren’t there to perform the job safely.
    Getting into other issues and grinding your own particular favourite axe just confuses everything and encourages people to feel singled out, a special case and divides us for no good reason.
    The job is shit. End of.

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  • AlanAlmond
    The workforce crisis is multifactorial. Poorly evidenced assessment of clinicians is only one factor e.g. appraisal has 'chased away' many older experienced doctors. Ask BAPIO about the CSA (they took it to court - while they didn't win, they didn't exactly lose either - and not my 'own particular axe' as pale male).
    GP is a career highly motivated individuals aspired to. Your last sentence should read (I suggest) is that its 'gone to sh1t?

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  • I suggest a nice 3 year, very well mentored, supported and activity capped training programme is just the ideal thing before leaving medicine altogether. Don't be fooled by all the training places being filled, over 40% will not become FT GPs, and the proportion will get higher if there no fundamental changes.

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  • Madness that a whole 25% can stomach this bollocks full time, must be something wrong with them

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