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Salaried GP jobs account for 80% of new posts

By Gareth Iacobucci

GP recruitment has been completely turned on its head in the space of five years, with four fifths of new vacancies now salaried posts, a Pulse investigation reveals.

There is also evidence that Government attempts to tackle the uneven supply of GPs may have failed, with those partnerships that do exist increasingly in better-off areas.

The figures show the extent of the crisis facing GP leaders, who recently called for the Government to restore central control of GP recruitment in a desperate attempt to arrest the decline in partnerships.

Pulse analysed more than 250 job advertisements in the magazine's classified section in 2003, and then at intervals from 2007 to early this year.

In 2009, 80% of advertisements have been salaried, compared with just 39% back in 2003 – a dramatic change that has alarmed the GPC.

Dr Beth McCarron Nash, GPC negotiator with responsibility for employment issues said the figures were evidence that the new generation of GPs were being denied any possibility of a partnership.

‘It is an exceptionally difficult time and we need to be careful not to be our worst enemy. I would like to see a long-term strategy based on a partnership model.'

Dr McCarron Nash, a GP partner in Honiton, Devon, added: ‘We want to see GPs offered an opportunity that is right for them. At the moment, it appears they are not being offered a choice.'

The survey also reveals Government efforts to redistribute GPs to the poorest areas of the country appear to have had little impact, and that the abolition of the Medical Practices Committee in 2004 may even have had an adverse impact.

In 2003, 49% of partnerships were advertised in the most deprived quarter of postcodes, but over 2007 and 2008, just 30% were.

Salaried posts have shifted slightly towards more deprived neighbourhoods, however, with 36% advertised in the quarter most deprived neighbourhoods in 2007/8, compared with 27% in 2003.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, vice chair of the National Association of Sessional GPs, said the figures demonstrated the struggle salaried GPs face to compete for an ever decreasing number of partnerships.

He said: ‘It's much more of a bunfight now. It's not just newly qualified GPs [going for the jobs], but also the salaried GPs themselves. We've got a lot stressed out, unsatisfied GPs.'

Key findings

- 49% of partner jobs located in the most deprived quarter
- 17% of partner jobs located in the most affluent quarter
- 27% of salaried jobs located in the most deprived quarter

- 30% of partner jobs located in the most deprived quarter
- 22% of partner jobs located in the most affluent quarter
- 36% of salaried jobs located in the most deprived quarter

2003 - 39% of ads were for salaried vacancies
2008 - 66% of ads were for salaried vacancies
2009 - 80% of ads were for salaried vacancies

The number of partnerships being offered has plummeted, with salaried GP posts now accounting for 80% of those advertised

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