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More than two thirds of GPs work less than full time, says official data

Nearly seven in ten GPs are working less than full time, according to official workforce data.

The NHS Digital data revealed an increasing proportion of GPs working less than 37.5 hours per week over the past five years.

GP leaders said the figures were ‘unsurprising’ considering ‘the current pressure on general practice and the subsequent stress of a working GP’.

However, this comes after the National GP Worklife Survey found that 20% of GPs questioned said they work more than 60 hours each week.

According to the latest figures, 69% of GPs – excluding registrars, retainers and locums – were working less than 37.5 hours per week as of March 2018, with 31% working 37.5 hours or more each week. This is compared with 65% of GPs working part-time in September 2015.

BMA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said the latest figures are ‘just one part of a wider recruitment and retention issue in general practice which has been largely underpinned by years of under investment’.

He said: ‘Given the current pressure on general practice and the subsequent stress of working as a GP, it is unsurprising that many are choosing to adopt a more flexible approach to working where they can have a more reasonable work/life balance.

‘Indeed, in many cases, those scheduled on part-time hours are still doing a full week’s work.’

The data further revealed that the number of GP partners working part-time has also steadily increased over the last five years from 58% in September 2015 to 60% in March 2018.

A Pulse survey last year revealed that of 1,200 UK GPs, 27% were working more than 50 hours a week, with a further 13% working 45-50 hours.

The RCGP launched a campaign last year to combat GP fatigue by encouraging GPs to take breaks, titled ‘A rested GP is a safer GP’.

The news comes as the GP workforce continues to suffer with 523 full-time equivalent GPs leaving the profession between March and June this year, with 5,000 GPs leaving the partnership model over the last decade.

In Nottinghamshire LMC, GPs have been encouraged to take on portfolio careers over leaving the profession in an effort to retain its workforce

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: 'GPs are a vital part of the NHS and it’s important to recognise the need for flexible working options so we can better retain GPs with patients benefiting from their wealth of knowledge and expertise.'

Readers' comments (22)

  • I see that you approached the DHSC for comment. Why not just stick in the response they give you every single time? "A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: 'We recognise the invaluable contribution of GPs and we are determined to build a strong workforce - that’s why we are investing an extra £2.4bn a year into general practice by 2021, with record number of doctors in training and NHS England planning to recruit an extra 2,000 overseas doctors.'"

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  • Addendum to above

    We are well on way to recruit 5000 GP by 2020 and improving working lives of GP.We find it difficult to believe that GP's are shunning and leaving the pleasure of being appraised,GMC,CQC,few extra in contract things,dealing with more patients etc and leave for Australia, Canada etc. Thanks to us many of GP's are happily retired.
    HaHaHa

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  • THE DAILY NUTTER WILL RANT AND RAGE BUT IT IS NONE OF THEIR ******* BUSINESS.

    WE DON'T SPEND HOURS DISCUSSING WHETHER JOURNALISTS WORK PART-TIME OR LAWYERS OR ANYBODY ELSE IN SOCIETY FOR THAT MATTER....BECAUSE THE RESPONSE WOULD BE....WHAT THE HELL HAS IT GOT TO DO WITH YOU WHAT PEOPLE DO !

    THE DIFFERENCE WITH DOCTORS IS THAT THE TABLOIDS THINK THAT WE ARE "OWNED BY SOCIETY"-LIKE SOME KIND OF CHEEKY SLAVE THAT DARES TO QUESTION THEIR MASTER

    THE JOB IS CRAP, SHIT, POO. NOBODY WANTS TO DO IT AND UNLESS WE ARREST AND BEAT DOCTORS AND REMOVE THEIR HUMAN RIGHTS LIKE SOME DICTATORSHIP, WE CANNOT MAKE THEM DO IT.

    IT IS SIMPLY MARKET FORCES-A WORD THAT THE TORIES AND THEIR CUNNING BANKER FRIENDS LOVE USING

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  • Is that based on sessions worked? I only do 6-7 sessions a week but work around 50 hours- I just don’t get paid for it.

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  • This was all covered in the right wing press 5 weeks ago.
    Their observation was that we are too well paid so we can afford to go part-time, hence the shortage of GP appointments!

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  • How were the NHS digital figures calculated? Are the figures based on sessions or actual hours worked?

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  • MANY MANY PEOPLE IN SOCIETY WORK PART-TIME....IT IS NOTHING TO DO WITH PAY AND EVERYTHING TO DO WITH FAMILY LIFE, PORTFOLIO CAREERS,PERSONAL ILLNESS, CARER ROLES ETC ETC.

    THE "DAILY CRIMINAL" KNOWS THIS BUT CONTINUES TO SPEW OUT DETRITUS FOR THE PURPOSES OF GREEDY MONEY MAKING

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  • When making such statements which may be grasped by the public and journalists,'Part-time' or 'less than 37.5 hours' are inappropriate, potentially misleading descriptions. As indeed suggested in the text above, those consulting and seeing patients for example on 7 notional half days per week will still generally be working more than 50 hours a week if administration in the evenings and on their half days, both in the surgery and at home are taken into account, as they must be.
    To a clocking in and out public, the total duration of our toil should be the important main figure, with consulting hours being identified as part of that total.

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  • "paid so much only work part time". I wonder how many part time bankers and CEOs there are ?

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  • I suspect some GPs are concerned if they answer 36 hours of work for NHSE and describe 6 sessions of clinical work to their indemnity organisation, given the later is apparently meant to describe 24 hours of work.

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