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Independents' Day

​One in three GPs would not choose general practice again

Exclusive One in three GPs would not choose general practice if they were starting a medical career again.

Sky-rocketing indemnity fees and the ongoing recruitment crisis in general practice were two of the main areas highlighted by GPs surveyed by Pulse, who said that they would not choose the profession if they could rewind the clock.

In all, 1,170 GPs responded to Pulse's question whether they would go into general practice again with the benefit of hindsight. Of these, 32% percent said that they would not.

A GP in Medway commented: ‘Knowing what I know now, probably not, but having aged with the system I can't imagine doing anything else.

'I am sad we cannot provide the service we should. I am sad I think it's all going to collapse.’

A GP in West Kent said that indemnity fees were rising to the point that some GPs might have to pay to work: ‘General practice is a very dangerous occupation that could lead to significant harm to oneself and one’s family. Litigation can ruin people’s careers as indemnity providers are cherry picking cases to defend.

'Younger generations of doctors have paid extortionate tuition fees and ridiculously high costs in examinations all out of our own pockets. Now our potential pension has been raided and retirement has been pushed to a later age.’

Half of the GPs surveyed said that they would still choose to go into general practice, although many said they would think twice about a career in medicine in the first place.

Some GPs said that they were happier than some of their specialist colleagues and still valued the variety and patient contact that general practice offered.

But they added that they wished they could just be left alone to do their job, rather than chasing targets set by politicians.

An East London-based GP said: ‘There is nothing wrong with the job of GP - the problem is too much work and not enough resources.’

A GP in Hertfordshire said: ‘I enjoy my job - just not the unrealistic expectations of politicians and their refusal to restrict patient expectations.’

The news comes as the Pulse survey also revealed that one in four GPs work beyond safe working hours every week.

It also comes as No 10 last week said GPs would have to extend opening to seven days a week or risk lose funding.

Survey question in full

If you could rewind back to your medical student days, would you still become a GP?

Yes - 50%

No - 32%

Don’t know - 18%

The survey was launched on 9 November 2016, collating responses using the SurveyMonkey tool. The 29 questions covered a wide range of GP topics, to avoid selection bias on one issue. A total of 1,170 GPs answered the question above.




Readers' comments (10)

  • Spuds

    Indemnity fees are much lower in Scotland. Also no CQC no Choose and Book no commissioning etc. You have to listen to Sturgeon spouting bile every now and then but apart from that it's pretty good here. Come on up, all of you!

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  • Get your ticket and get out of the poisonous UK GP land as fast as your can. Don't stay it S****.

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  • Council of Despair

    it will be spun as 50% of GPs happy to be GPs so therefore they must be supportive of the government proposals for 8 to 8 7 days a week etc.

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  • No
    I am happy working as a GP now
    But patients expectations have changed, the style of consultation has changed as well demand has increased. The pressure on GP is huge.
    I think in twenty years GP rule would change completely.
    The NHS has big problems as there is not enough doctors to provide the medical care required by nation . GPs are facing huge volumes of work and demand from patients.

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  • Surprisingly low figure. If you asked anybody in any job you would probably get this as a standard background rate.
    Maybe its only us professional pulse moaners that are fed up. The rest of you are in some sort of weird parallel paradise.

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  • Just Your Average Joe

    I still love being a GP - as long as I live in my bubble of my day - seeing patients and training Gps is still worthwhile.

    I simply ignore all the Sh1t* floating around about CCGs, federations, JH and the media witch hunts, and let that just ferment there long enough that the wind changes and blows all that away.

    We have survived health secretary after muppet, PCGs, PCT and with luck soon to die CCGs.

    CQC is not fit for purpose, and somehow GMC is for patients not doctors.

    Despite all this - breath and do the bits you enjoy and leave the rest, and by ignoring almost all of it, it will simply cease to be (Eventually!).

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  • Vinci Ho

    'You don't want to be interested in politics but politics is extremely interested in you, mate'
    So ,as Donald Trump inaugurated after our PM announced the 12 key points of a hard Brexit in the same week,the two countries on both sides of the Atlantic have officially taken a sharp turn to the far right in politics. Protectionism will be the word in most political discourses. But if everyone is trying to protect oneself , something has to give as the winner(s) would like to laugh over the losers' dead bodies .
    Another word to rise on the horizon is called Nationalism . This appears to be a consequence of decades of globalisation. Ironically, Xi Jinping , the Chinese President has been selling this ideology very hard , boosting patriotism to ensure national stability despite historical level of corruption,since he came to power in 2012. And if you remember the elephant curve of world economy for 1988-2008, one big winner country was indeed ,China. No wonder , the new American president has picked China as the number one enemy as this is consistent with his anti-globalisation campaign. To Mr Xi, protectionism is just another well familiar terminology .
    Britain , on the contrary , is befriended with the Chinese government . Thanks to some previous lucrative investment deals including Hinkley Point nuclear power station , which had defied Auntie May's instinctive,politically correct scepticism but succumbing to financial reality. The enemy actual she chose in this game of Brexit is in fact , EU . According to the Chancellor , the British government is prepared to do 'anything' to arrive at a free trade deal with EU eventually, not in the sense of being cooperative, but confrontational instead ; for instance,EU can lose the brilliant British intelligence support up against Russia , face a tax haven Britain with even lower corporation tax. Needless to say about Trump's opinion on EU and NATO, one can also imagine how Putin will feel about this rather unreal circumstances .
    Of course , everything is down to money , money , nothing but money . Our chancellor estimated £60 billions more borrowing because of Brexit . I would say more, given the conditions required above to sustain a confrontation against EU and the cost of dancing alongside with Trump in HIS WAY( felt sorry that my favourite Frank Sinatra's song was used by the new American president in his inauguration celebrations). If one thought the controversial Trans-Atlantic trade investment and partnership (TTIP) was a bad idea , please wait for the well anticipated , forthcoming US-UK trade deal as Auntie May prepares her trip to Washington .
    In order to sustain the cost of Brexit and new deals with the rest of the world , austerity on domestic spending is inevitable. Problem is a carpet approach of austerity has reached its limit , stifling economic growth . The Bank of England has done all it could ,especially around the time after referendum to stabilise the economy. This has indeed led to this current 'virtual reality' of some economic growth seven months post referendum ,forcing Mark Carney to swallow his pride admitting the threat of Brexit was lessened. I would say , however , do not forget that we are still in EU! A neo-Keynesian economic strategy is truly necessary for infrastructure investment (something Trump is rightly concentrating ) to ensure genuine economic growth .
    So ,that only boils down to a selective austerity on public services , health and social care,education and benefits. Of course , Auntie could not have this on any front page in the media. Instead , she gave heart-warming speeches about how to protect the Just About Managing (JAMs) earning the sympathy of Professor Martin McKee in the latest , rather inflammatory, edition of BMJ : BMJ 2017;356:j213.
    The truth is austerity on health and social care services is now part of the Sustainability and Transformation Plan(STP)for Brexit and the new economic relationships with US , China and the rest of the world. Whether one would like to wake up to this reality is another matter .

    And for our dear Sarah(Wollaston), we like to see more from you ,presuming that you are standing firm for NHS and social care . Merely asking our GP colleagues to invite their MPs to come to their workplace or asking the prime minister to apologise, is NOT ENOUGH , my honourable lady. My suggestion is : like some of your party colleagues(as well as those in opposition),you can resign and trigger a by-election in your constituency. Run the election independently with a manifesto of saving NHS/GP/social care with more funding (raising tax , money from Brexit's promise or whatever), I am pretty sure you will be re-elected with a good margin and a brighter halo on top of your head,in contrast to the 'tragic' story of Zack Goldsmith. As long as you remain in your party , you are still in the 'mix' threatening you to grovel in front of your party . A Tory is a Tory , always a Tory?

    And no matter how hard Auntie May is trying to be Margaret Thatcher 2.0, the current circumstances are ,in some way , only similar to the eighties but not entirely the same. In exactly the same location, Lancaster House , Thatcher announced U.K. joining EU , May declared a truly hard Brexit.
    The anticipated, forthcoming US-UK trade deal has now become the first interesting chapter of this Trump-May relationship. This is now , that was then . Perhaps , we have a nefarious version of Reagan-Thatcher 2.0...... Who knows?

    So Auntie May (in your nine hundred quid leather pants and extravagant shoes) ,as you wanted us to open seven days a week ,our colleagues are all now very interested in your politics......

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  • 'Neo-Keynesian'' - yuk! Government hubris that central control of money is the answer is the ultimate path to fascism. The seigniorage of money printing to the rich has created asset bubbles and devalued professional work, with the predictable push back of protectionism and nationalism.

    The money markets are far from 'free'.

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  • The job is rewarding but the climate and environment is not.

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  • I'd choose GP without choosing to work in UK. Never ever regretted the choice!

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