This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

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.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 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.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 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.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 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

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 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.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 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

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 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.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 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.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Dont' forget that those who are threatening to resign are the most [?abnormally] resilient of us.
    Normal people have succumbed to breakdown of their health and given up for that reason.
    If you add those who have left for health reasons to those who volunteer to go you might get an even more terrifying statistic.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "Una Coales | Other GP10 Dec 2015 10:58am
    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?"

    What do you think Chaand was given a CBE reward for?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • GPs have to make a firm stand, which is supported by the public, otherwise they will end up like primary teachers, who don't get overtime, but work 60 hour weeks, most of it fulfilling the government's bureaucratic requirements. This constant meddling by ministers, and their 20 something advisers, has become the norm in British government.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I was a senior a GP principal in an inner city practice for 27 years and the work got to such an unsustainable level together with financial losses DIRECTLY as as a result of a cut back in fees and inability to recruit partners that I decide to retire and adjust to a life in the slow lane. I guess, initially o felt confused as to whether I had done the right thing because I loved my job especially the teaching side of it. I went through a period of prolonged uncertainty but I was one of the lucky ones who could retire at 55 as I had I major financial obligations. A year has passed since I stopped full time general practice and my life could not be any better. I wogldNEVER go back to this nightmarish life and feel blessed that I got a way out. I sincerely hope that pother colleague n my situation will have the courage to do he same

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I didn't wait until the masses resigned, I went at 54. Best decision I ever made.
    The 50% presumably is of those left. So many have already gone that it represents a much larger proportion than appears.

    Incidentally, I applied for voluntary erasure which I got with no questions asked in 2 weeks. I had to get one form from my last employer and that was it.

    Today I got a cheque from them for nearly £400 refund for the rest of the year.

    Champagne tonight!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The 51% included the disgruntled who have joined Federations formed by CCG/LMC members (and in some cases even the chairpersons of these organisations) with persuasion, coercion and the promise of a thick fat red juicy carrot with no stick in sight. They probably also include the privileged who have higher than normal funding and those who feel lost and have no opinion of their own. Or finally, of those stuck with premises and feel they have no way out and giving up the Contract might spell financial doom.
    Whatever the reasons, it's difficult to imagine that 51% of colleagues still feel that it is not yet time to walk out and would like to carry on in the present worsening climate.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The overwhelming difference between now and the mid-sixties (when GPs achieved a good deal by submitting undated resignations) is that a significant number of doctors no longer own their surgery building.

    Many partners are 'middle men' in lease arrangements between NHS England and a private property company.

    Depending on how the lease is set up, resignation could mean rapid bankruptcy for these doctors. They have us by the 'short and curlies'.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Dr Andrew Sant stated ‘This would probably be in a large provider working as an accountable or integrated care organisation rather than a practice.’

    Isn't this essentially what would happen with privitisation?

    As I've said before, GP unity = oxymoron.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Come 2016, there may not be much left of the current NHS system to function "sustainably"...but then that was the plan set 5 years ago!

    As I always say to the young ones, 'If I had told you so, would you have listened or even done anything about it?'

    What have you as GP's, done so far and what are you going to do when the game is up ....Lambs to the slaughter! 'There is nothing you can do about it and there never was!'

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I am away in OZ. Gosh, what a nightmare the NHS is, especially GP land. While BMA and GPC sleep, doctors are leaving.
    In any case, any person who wants to be a doctor in the UK should take note of the GMC stance on doctors.
    if doctors strike legally so as not to work 90 hours / week, the GMC will hold them responsible.
    If you do not get paid and refuse to work, the GMC will hold you responsible.
    Go do computers, engineering, accountancy or anything else.
    if you become a doctor and make one mistake you are finished. Sometimes you are finished if you go on strike so that you do not make mistakes.
    The GMC is waiting to get you, so be really, really clever and just do not become a doctor.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Many wanted to be GPs to be independent and enjoy a work/life balance. The truth is both have been lost. GPs are no longer independent in the true sense of the word.Most have a miserable work/life balance.There's nothing left. Very sad but very true.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The doctors just talk . They squabble over the crumbs and it is everyone for themselves..lalways been
    Our locality did not agree to collaboration with a locality on sharing vanguard money .
    What does it say for unity?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Vinci Ho

    This is what I sent yesterday on a link to all Liverpool LMC members :
    Fact , issues in NHS particularly seven days working are heavily politicised by this government . Political issues need political solutions.
    Fact, this government with its health secretary have an agenda to destroy general practice in its current form . To those who do not respect you, I cannot see how one can co-operate and be 'constructive'.
    Fact, efficiency saving is politically correct but has become a landslide fallacy. As I always say , there is only a fine line between politically correct diplomacy and dangerously flawed hypocrisy.

    Whatever this coming emergency LMC conference is really about, this is an extraordinarily critical time in the history of our profession
    Vinci Ho

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I'm a Scottish GP and our leader assure us that our contract will be "better" but I'm surprised only 1/2 are prepared to resign. Surely this would be a great time for Juniors, Consultants and GPs to unite against these plans?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Am I being naive but surely all it takes is for every GP in the UK to be asked what they want to do and then we can take action accordingly. I am amazed that no one "in authority" and there must be many who read this (then again don't want to find out what the grassroots really feel, might get in the way of the gong) and feel that in a democracy all GPs / Drs should be asked how they want Medicine to go to give NHSE / SoS some hard facts and statistics they can't spin out of before it's too late (the fat lady is definitely warming up her vocal cords….)

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This comment has been moderated.

  • FIIIIIIIIIGARO, FIIIIIGGAAAAAAROOOOOOOOOOO

    Regards

    Fat Lady

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Una Coales

    On Tuesday 15 December, the Parliamentary Health Select Committee holds ita 4th oral evidence session of its inquiry into Primary care. The witnesses are Maureen Baker CBE, chair of the RCGP, Steve Field CBE, former RCGP Chair and currently chief inspector of general practice CQC, and Chaand Nagpaul CBE, chair of the BMA. Enough said.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Good man/woman VINCI HO.. I think you should take over N.H.S. Clearly, like the other commentators on this screen, you are coal face workers and understand what's going on.
    I should be working as a G.P. but gave up , mainly at the pointless hoops, and the disgraceful attitudes of the hospital junior doctors in refusing admissions, the hospital administrators, redirecting urgent referrals, to delay things for patients, and to improve their waiting lists. When is a time , measured in weeks acceptable for start of cancer treatment ? I think I read earlier this evening on screen, that it was 62 days ! Most malignant tumours have a doubling time of 30 days, so a particularly amelanotic melanoma will double in size in that time , the chances increase that it will metastasize. The only way round this is for private insurance, and strip the NHS of needless clerics and button punchers, and overpaid managers. I retired from General Pratice 15 months ago.
    Perhaps Pulse Magazine should form a fighting group to represent G.P.s , so G.P.s could resign from BMA. Notice I am not anonymous.
    Long live Vinci Ho

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Vinci Ho

    Sigh! I suppose our relationship to our profession can be summed up by Elton John's 'Don't let the sun go down on me' ; Bernie Taupin's wonderful lyrics:
    I can't light no more of your darkness
    All my pictures seem to fade to black and white
    I'm growing tired and time stands still before me
    Frozen here on the ladder of my life
    Too late to save myself from falling
    I took a chance and changed your way of life
    But you misread my meaning when I met you
    Closed the door and left me blinded by the light
    Don't let the sun go down on me
    Although I search myself, it's always someone else I see
    I'd just allow a fragment of your life to wander free
    But losing everything is like the sun going down on me
    I can't find, oh the right romantic line
    But see me once and see the way I feel
    Don't discard me just because you think I mean you harm
    But these cuts I have they need love to help them heal

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Vinci Ho

    Yes. These cuts......

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Hey Vinci, and don't forget the lyrics of Nik Kershaw's "I win't let the son go down on me" from the early '70s!!
    I'm really trying to not let the sun go down on me after working for the NHS for 40 years and as a GP for 35 years!! I probably need a psychiatric assessment for staying so long but time's very nearly up now. I wonder how long it will take me to get an appointment assuming that there's still someone there to see me!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • sorry Vinci for my mis spelling : Nik Kershaw's song should read " I wont let the sun go down on me"

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I presume the 319 NOs were members of CCGs' governing bodies, or LMC members, or BMA officials, or, not unusual members of all three organisations catering for us.

    Well done Una (10 Dec 2015 3:29pm) for reminding the plebs of the aristocratic GPs.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I echo many of the comments here;

    In the UK/NHS life as a doctor is a life of hell and a surefire way to an early grave or burnout/ divorce/ being struck off etc

    how did this hell manifest? the job was the absolute best in world in the early/ mid 2000s when i trained? what on earth went wrong??? in a few short years the profession has been decimated and most of the ones who are still there slogging away only do so because they have to... This career should be a noble honourable job..a labour of love.

    Anyhow, i followed the advice of trailblazers like una coales 2 years ago and left for a life of joy abroad and things have never been better; Get to see the kids, spend time with the spouse and feel like a doctor again.

    Trying to survive in the uk as a doctor is like trying to stay alive in a warzone, you have patients against you, cqc GMC, now CCG as well as hostile media and politicans. top that up with revalidation and all the other nonsense and i can quite easily see why doctors brains are malfunctioning and they are quite literally burning out;

    do yourselves a favour, because no one else over there will, and get the hell out!!!!!!

    seriously for the sake of your health, your sanity, your future, your children and there future...!!!!!!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Ladies & Gentlemen, what you are all trying to do in your earnest and dedicated way is to polish a stool (and we are not talking furniture).The NHS model has failed, utterly. It is simply financially non-viable, and is being corroded by the abject lack of responsibility that patients have for their own health. When I started in GP in 1981, diabetes, for instance, was an uncommon disease entirely managed by hospitals. Now it is almost universal because these patients are fat and idle and know that the state will fund support for their inappropriate lifestyles. I am sure this government does not want to "destroy the NHS", but that may actually be its undoing. Failure to grasp nettle now will simply postpones the inevitable.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I resigned from my partnership aged 51. I could not bear the thought of being trapped, having to soldier on because my family's assets were on the line if I failed. I realised that the Government did not care abut me, indeed was actively trying to destroy UK General Practice.

    I decided to get out before any more of my partners resigned. We had already lost two, and two of the others were nearer to retirement age than me.

    It was the hardest decision to make but I am so glad I did it. I sleep much better. I am much poorer, and my pension will be much less than envisaged, but you can learn to cut your cloth according to your means. In the end the rewards were no longer worth the pain.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Which half of GP's - is it the better half.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • resign en masse

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Why arent they striking too for goodness sake? More would probably agree to this. But both are good. Saying that the junior doctors strike seems to have been kicked into the grass by our 'leaders' so perhaps resignations are something we could do personally and no 'leader'could hijack this action to benefit themselves.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The BMA represents Hospital doctors in the main.

    We need to realise it is the GPC which can get militant for us.

    If they raise their profile and Nigel prints the honest truth some more we will all know to bleat to them, not the useless BMA.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • i echo the comments of 8.40pm. finally made my mind up about resigning from general practice. in 3 months will be out of this hell hole that is making me unwell both physically and mentally.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • No you won't resign. Not even 10% of you will resign. You'll bumble on, whingeing, and tell yourselves: 'Oh well, it'll all be over in 20/30 years and then I can retire.' That's what GPs in this country do.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • retired last year.best thing that i ever did.no point dying or suffering prematurely.all my best to dr jatin patel's retirement.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • So what if the partners resign?

    Their places will be taken by a new generation of currently salaried GPs, who in addition to treating the patient, - can operate Excel and know to reset the PC before getting the receptionist to call IT support.

    Practice leadership is as much in need of a refresh as the whole profession.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Una Coales

    @Peter have faith in our younger Generation Y GPs. Resignation and voting with one's feet are picking up momentum in protest to high membership fees, high indemnity fees and/or a unilateral financially unviable government (Capitol) imposed 7/7 state contract for (district sector) GPs. http://blog.networklocum.com/2015/12/09/why-i-resigned-from-the-rcgp/

    Most GPs are now female, and we know how to do maths! Women juggle and manage household budgets, childcare, mortgage repayments, taxes, council tax, road tax, car insurance, student loan repayments, etc. and are quickly seeing that a salaried GP job pays too little after all the outgoing expenses are taken into account and the pressures of a GP partnership are rapidly becoming a sentence to an early grave from heart failure or sudden cardiac death. Again reminded of The Hunger Games...

    Just as nearly half of junior doctors, who have completed their 2 year foundation years, are looking elsewhere for work, career change into real estate, banking, private GP work, cruise ships, etc., so too are Generation Y GPs who may not have been granted a ballot on mass resignation, so instead are voting with their feet. Meanwhile the Capitol continues to bestow CBEs to 'leaders of GPs'. And leaders are keeping state sector coalfaced GPs in tow with slogans such as Put Patients First.

    As Generation Y GPs watch their colleagues end their lives due to being overworked or under the harsh Draconian grip of the GMC regulator who seems to abide by 'guilty until proven innocent' conditions, and are not allowed to stage a revolt (no ballot from their 'trade union'), it is no wonder we see so many fleeing each sector. The average age of a female GP leaving the NHS is 34 (presumably after their second child). Young male GPs are emigrating outside of the Capitol to lands on the other side of the world. Older GPs are dropping their tools as they approach 50 and willing to accept a smaller pension in exchange for their liberty.

    I have a lot of faith in Generation Y GPs who seek professional autonomy and financial independence despite all the obstacles placed in front of them to destroy the last vestige of general practice. I wonder who will be left to work as state sector salaried GPs for 65 million people, with only approx. 4,000 EU GPs on the GMC register and many IMGs blocked by the CSA and/or visa changes. The way of the world...

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The NHS had a design fault in 1947 at its birth
    Primary care should not be any part of the NHS
    Look at the dentists their range of care has increased procedures undertaken etc and their income and job satisfaction
    If General Practice was private you could shut most of the A and E depts in the country
    GP's could manage vast amounts of present inpatient care with the aid of consultant domiciliries ( remember them ) and the incentive to keep the patient out of hospital ( which does not exist at present )
    Talented and experienced Doctors would flood to General Practice
    Your " heart sink " patients would disappear
    But most of all we would be Doctors again not the NHS " office boys "

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say