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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)

  • 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.

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  • 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?

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  • 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

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  • 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?

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  • 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….)

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  • This comment has been moderated.



    Fat Lady

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  • 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.

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • Vinci Ho

    Yes. These cuts......

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  • 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!!

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

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  • 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.

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  • 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...!!!!!!!

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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

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  • resign en masse

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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