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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Poor pay and struggle to fill shifts hamper out-of-hours switch

More than a quarter of all GPs plan to retire early because of the new contract and one in eight plans to cut their hours.

Some 44 per cent of singlehanders and one in three GPs in inner-city practices said they now planned to leave general practice earlier.

Dr John Derounian, a singlehanded GP in Drumin, Morayshire, said despite the financial loss he would suffer by retiring early, he was willing to do so in order to remain sane.

'I now spend more time collating data then I do on medicine. I don't have the time or staff to offer the direct patient contact I thought medicine was all about.'

Dr Philip Matthewman, a GP in north London, said a 'loss of control' was leading him to retire earlier.

'Although incomes have gone up to compensate for

data-inputting, most doctors aren't motivated entirely by money but by patient contact.'

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