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Profession has 'failed' next generation over jobs crisis - Buckman

By Steve Nowottny

The chair of the GPC has claimed the profession has 'failed' the next generation of GPs.

Speaking at a Londonwide LMCs conference, Dr Laurence Buckman issued his starkest warning yet over the jobs crisis facing young GPs, which he described as ‘a cancer in our midst' and a ‘colossal threat to the future of general practice'.

‘We have failed them and we must do something to get them into practice,' he said. ‘If we don't they are going to be emigrating, ripe for the picking by the private sector and very understandably angry.'

‘I know this is a dreadful message to give at a time of economic difficulty, that you should be expanding your practice, but actually expansion is improving service for patients. If we don't do something, this is going to bite us very hard on the bum.'

Dr Buckman also said that underemployment was a ‘real threat', compared to other perceived threats such as the Darzi review and private sector interest, about which he urged GPs to ‘stop being apocalyptic.'

‘It is a colossal threat to the future of general practice, much more so than a bunch of Yanks taking over a polyclinic or something,' he said.

‘Some surgeon wanders around with his sigmoidoscope and says how general practice should run, well, that's the political world. This thing, this is our fault.'

In July a Pulse investigation revealed there have been huge falls in the number of both salaried and partner vacancies, with the overall number of vacancies estimated to have fallen by more than 30% in the past year.

Dr John Canning, a GPC member and LMC secretary for Cleveland, backed Dr Buckman's comments – but warned that the impact of the new Darzi practices for underdoctored areas was also a major concern locally.

He said: ‘I suspect there's probably a bit of divide between different parts of the country. In some places it seems much harder to find jobs when you've just qualified than it is in others.

‘Getting a job in this area isn't so much of a problem. What worries me is that some doctors are being offered relatively poor terms and conditions.'

Dr Laurence Buckman: GPC chair says the profession has failed the next generation of GPs Dr Laurence Buckman, GPC chair

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