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Plan to force GPs into early retirement would 'backfire badly', GPC warns

GP leaders have said many GPs would ‘jump at the chance' to retire early if the Department of Health pressed ahead with proposals to introduce an early retirement scheme in general practice.

But any attempt by the DH to force GPs in to early retirement would ‘backfire badly'.

A DH-commissioned report by the management consultancy firm McKinsey recommends an early retirement scheme ‘be implemented in the next two years' as part of a package of cost-saving measures considered by ministers.

Retiring older GPs would also encourage ‘new blood' into the profession, and along with a 13% cut in primary care spending and cutting the overall NHS workforce by 137,000, would help the Government achieve its target of making a £20bn efficiency savings over the next five years.

Health minister Mike O'Brien denied the DH were plotting massive job cuts but refused to rule out plans for early retirement schemes.

A Pulse investigation in May 2008 found 21% of GPs said they were planning to retire from practice in the next five years due to growing disillusionment with general practice.

Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC vice chair, said: ‘I think if many GPs were given the option of retiring early many would jump at the chance.

But he added: ‘The DH's own workforce figures show it's quite likely that we'll be in desperate need of GPs rather than looking to reduce the number of GPs. Any attempt to try and force early retirement would backfire badly.'

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey: DH likely to be 'in desperate need of GPs' GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey: DH likely to be 'in desperate need of GPs'

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