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Independents' Day

Half of GPs willing to resign NHS contracts in protest at state of general practice

Exclusive Almost half of GPs support mass resignation from the NHS in protest at the current state of general practice, a Pulse survey has revealed.

The survey of 922 GPs found that 49% are willing to resign their NHS contracts to highlight issues such as chronic underfunding, relentless bureaucracy and the ‘misrepresentation’ of doctors.

However, 35% of respondents said they were against the measure, saying that mass resignation could enable the Government to divide the profession and privatise the NHS.

It comes as senior GP leaders prepare for a crisis summit in 30 January, which will look specifically at ‘what actions are needed to ensure GPs can deliver a safe and sustainable service’ and after junior doctors forced health secretary Jeremy Hunt back to the negotiating with their vote to strike earlier this month.

GPs said they were angry at the lack of Government action as practices faced an unprecedented shortage of GPs, their income falling to the lowest level for nine years and many being forced to close down.

They said that the ‘new deal’ announced by the health secretary earlier this year had failed to deal with the problems many practices were having.

Dr David Goldberg, a GP in Merseyside, said: ‘Over the last few years all actions by the Government point to the fact that they are engineering a fight with doctors. The Government misrepresents us repeatedly. They misrepresent doctors’ work ethic but nothing could be further from the truth. The only option we have left is to post-date resignation letters en masse.’

Dr Karen Buchanan, a GP in North Tyneside, said: ‘I’m massively frustrated by the situation in general practice. To the point, after 20 years, where I’m not sure I can continue working in the NHS. I see the whole structure of general practice being dismantled, a structure that had been admired world-wide. The opinions of the workforce are repeatedly ignored by the Government. Money is being poured in to wasteful, inefficient ”money saving” schemes. We may have less targets to reach but we are always the target for the media.’

But Dr Andrew Sant, a GP and medical director at Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, told Pulse that resigning was not a solution and the profession should instead push for an alternative model of care: ‘This would probably be in a large provider working as an accountable or integrated care organisation rather than a practice.’

Results in full

Would you support mass resignation from the NHS due to the current state of general practice?

Yes: 449 (48.7%)

No: 319 (34.6%)

Don’t know: 154 (16.7%)

Total number of respondents: 922

The survey was launched on 26th October 2015, collating responses using the SurveyMonkey tool. The 20 questions asked covered a wide range of GP topics, to avoid selection bias on one issue. The survey was advertised to readers via our website and email newsletter, with a prize draw for a Samsung HD TV as an incentive to complete the survey. A total of 922 GPs answered this question.

Readers' comments (46)

  • Just Your Average Joe

    My Tory MP doesn't even bother denying privatisation is the long term goal now.

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  • How many have resigned already? A lot I should say, judging from recent apologies and token offers to try and reverse the inevitable perfect storm. I am watching from a very safe place and enjoying my popcorn.

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  • I read this in Daily Mail (quoting PULSE) before it was published in PULSE!!!

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  • privatisation would be better all round. Patients would think about when they need to see a GP rather than just in case. Doctors can get paid per patient appropriate to the time they work. Would fix a lot (though of course not all) problems.

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  • My question to GP who do not want to resign from NHS contract and would like model where everybody works for large provider is . How they are going to make sure that even that service will be fully funded?. How they are going to change public behaviour in misusing NHS services?. By going for federation and other models is only delaying the inevitable. Wait till 30th jan and this 49 % will increase by another 10-15 percent and in another 2 years it will be 100%. - I am sure most of us in our heart know that this free NHS in current form will not last longer than 2-3 years

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  • some us didn't get get a chance to do survey - i agree to resign. this is the sort of survey that should be rolled out to all GPs. talking to colleagues i'd say at least 50% willing to resign. it would be interesting to see the age split - as i have a feeling that younger GPs are more militant. ultimately the only answer is to split health service provision with a smaller non-comprehensive NHS backed up with a insurance backed health system with contract between providers (us) and the patient directly. we need to get rid of state involvement including nhse, cqc, nice etc and reign in GMC to get back general practice on track. merging only buys time but the direction of travel is downhill until demand is addressed.

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  • it is very difficult to be a gp in today's climate. Too much frustrations complains from patients increasing for most minor issues/ and bureaucracy is frustrating with not enough money or recognition of what GPS do

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  • i would ignore comments from medical directors as leaders they have an inherent gain from any model that has doctors sub servant to them. the whole point of being a GP is for independent practice - lost that and you end up not being a GP i.e. what is the point of having the profession? If you want to be sub-servant to a larger system then stay in secondary care.

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  • Una Coales

    When oh when will the doctor's trade union, the BMA, ballot its GP members on mass resignation from a financially unfeasible and unfair contract? How many GP partners have to end their lives or work to an early grave before poor GPs are balloted? Well done Pulse on taking the initiative. Another Christmas approaches and many GP families must celebrate without their father, mother or spouse. RIP burned out GPs. For the rest, keep making your plan Bs.

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  • Why only half? Thats ridiculous! Wake up peeps!!!!

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