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Not a GP shortage but a job shortage

From Dr Nidhi Bhargava

GP, Buckinghamshire

Is talk about a GP shortage a misconception?

Innumerable GPs are now qualifying each year. There is, however, a shortage of salaried jobs, partnerships and even locum and out-of-hours sessions in certain areas.

Postgraduate qualifications and specialist interests carry no added weight when applying for jobs.

Whether prior acquaintance with the partners carries any significance is questionable.

There is an overwhelming number of applications for each job advertised. Retainer and returner schemes are still popular with practices.

What does that leave for freshly qualified GPs? In order to get their work recognised they need a job, but there are no jobs – a vicious circle.

Is it worth briefing and familiarising the VTS applicants and medical graduates interested in general practice with the current job situation?

Should the deaneries decrease the VTS posts or redistribute them in the required areas? I think it is worth considering.

Whether pressure from the Government, a demanding public and pay cuts will make general practice less attractive, thereby solving the problem, remains to be seen.

• From Dr S Patel, GP partner, London

It is sad to see that young

UK-trained GPs are not able to get into partnerships, leading some to go into private practice or emigrate (Careers,

8 March).

We need to introduce a rule such as that once there are more than 2,500 patients per partner, another UK-trained partner has to be taken on rather than a salaried doctor (unless no suitable partner can be found).

This would ensure young doctors are treated fairly and GPs remain in the fabric of the societies they serve. Do we want a profession run by 'entrepreneurs' or corporations who employ other doctors to do the work while creaming the profits from QOF? Or do

we want a profession where most doctors have a sense of ownership and vocation?

What is there to stop one partner employing five or 10 salaried doctors? Who would you rather have treating you –

a partner who is working for himself or a resentful salaried partner?

Once we are all salaried and employed by large corporations or other GPs, what is going to happen to our working conditions? We will do the work and the profits will go to the shareholders or private equity groups. Maybe that was the plan all along.

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