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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)

  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • retired last thing that i ever point dying or suffering prematurely.all my best to dr jatin patel's retirement.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

    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...

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  • 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 "

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