This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

pulse june2020 80x101px
Read the latest issue online

The waiting game

GP indemnity hikes could force me out of the job I love

I love this job but soaring indemnity fees mean I have to consider quitting general practice for the sake of my family's future, writes Dr Ralph Mitchell

It’s been a privilege to work as a GP for the past two years. After medical school, foundation training, followed by a year in core surgical training, before finally seeing the light and moving into GP training, I have finally settled into my role as a partner in a busy GP surgery in the East Midlands.

I work eight sessions in general practice, with one session as a specialty doctor in a local NHS trust. I have loved getting to know my own patients and offering continuity of care, supported by fantastic team mates and colleagues, at a practice within short commuting distance from home.

So what’s the issue? Well there is just this one thing… the ‘I’ word. Not some trendy word processing software from Apple but Indemnity.

At first I thought it was just part of the job and I would effectively see the money back as part of tax savings. However with year-on-year rises of several thousand pounds (this year alone my indemnity has risen by £2,000, despite not even a phone call to the medical defence company) I am staring at annual pay cuts to my take-home pay, with the discount rate yet to come.

I am aware I’m in a privileged position – I am well paid compared with the national average and able to put food on the table each week, so I have some sympathy with those who feel we shouldn’t complain.

But I am becoming increasingly despondent with a job that requires more and more of me when I am effectively getting paid less and less to do it. I am taking on ever more locum work on my afternoon off to maintain the same income for my family. This means less time with them.

With the discount rate due to hit our subscriptions this coming year, it may be the last straw for some of us, myself included. I am considering gaining further higher specialist training in Sports medicine to allow me to have dual accreditation, as I feel full-time GP alone is no longer sustainable both workload wise and financially.

I would hate to leave this job that I love and hope it doesn’t come to it, having trained so hard to get to where I am now. But with a wife and two children under the age of three, I have to think of the whole family’s future first.

Dr Ralph Mitchell is a GP partner in Leicestershire


Rate this article  (4.58 average user rating)

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Readers' comments (6)

  • Azeem Majeed

    Thank you Ralph. Excellent points.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment


    appraisal, revalidation beaurocracy, indemnity ... NHS england, CCG, CQC, GMC fees, .. could force me out of the job i love .... to be replaced by 5000 foreign doctors by the government ..

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment


    None of the above seem to be aware that they are having this effect .. and certainly do not seem to care at all ...

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • My solution is to gradually reduce my exposure to General Practice , and do more external work. I see General Practice as actually a risk now and I want to try and mitigate my exposure to this risk

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I have come to same conclusion myself.
    Am a full time partner in northern ireland, I have decided to get alternative accreditation myself, with a view to reducing/ possibly stopping GP partner work altogether (curretnly in mid 40's). Only thing stopping me before now -was knowing that the other 2 partners would almost certainly have to close surgery if I left. We have had no success advertising and minimal locums. sad times

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • headlines... i suspect the headline is clickbate. are you really giving up GPing because of the indemnity fees or because its not the job you thought it was and its getting worse on all accounts (i dont disagree). i suspect the headline should be - person finds being a GP not to his liking so looks to retrain else where so he has a better life.

    the point im trying to make is i think its far too easy to blame one thing. if they suddenly gave us free indemnity would we all be happy campers? i dont think so. ok reducing indemnity fees might be part of the solution but its not just that..

    its all too easy to reduce complex issues around why GPing is crap to if only they paid the indemnity.

    perhaps thats how our leaders think it will be solved.. i doubt it and it gives the polictians a easy way out. they give us cheaper indemnity then say well we gave you what you wanted why are you still complaining.. or worse they give that but only against another tick box.

    rising demands, rising expectations and poor workforce planning are the problems. im not even sure right now there are any solutions.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say