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GP trainees want to work 5.5 sessions a week in general practice

Exclusive GP trainees are set to work fewer sessions than the eight previously considered full time, Pulse’s survey of trainees has revealed.

The survey of 280 GP trainees revealed that only one in ten were willing to work eight sessions a week in practice, with a further one in ten willing to work seven.

Trainees said that this was due to the increased intensity of a session, and cited the burnout suffered by many current GPs.

This comes after Health Education England chief executive Professor Ian Cumming claimed that ‘millennials are increasingly not wanting to work’ the same hours as previous generations.

The survey also revealed that one-third of trainees cited work-life balance as the main reason they entered the profession, with a further third citing the ability to pursue a portfolio career and have flexibility and control over working hours.

The survey found that the average GP trainee wanted to work 5.5 sessions a week, with 38% saying they wanted to work a six-session week.

Many respondents said that they wanted to do work outside the practice.

Dr Zoe Greaves, a GPST1 in north-east England, said: ‘I enjoy clinical work, but have seen colleagues burn out doing it five days a week. I feel more challenged and engaged with my work when I have variety to my week, and am passionate about improving and developing the way we deliver services.’

Professor Ian Cumming told delegates at the NHS Confederation conference in June that full-time equivalent (FTE) GP numbers were down because ‘Generation Y and Z and millennials are increasingly not wanting to work the same number of hours that many of the baby boomers and Generation X want to work’.

However, Dr Jason Sarfo-Annin, a GPST1 in Bristol, said that Professor Cumming displayed a ‘lack of awareness to changes regarding the effect of the work environment on junior doctors career aspirations’.

He said: ‘The current generation has seen the incentives for loyalty slowly being eroded (loss of final-salary pension, removal of increments from new junior doctors contract, below inflation pay rises etc) and have very little flexibility in where, how and when they can work due to the structure of medical training in the UK.’

Dr Sarfo-Annin said that the fact that work-life balance and flexibility were chosen by many as their motivation for entering general practice ‘are arguably symptomatic of the fact that these doctors don’t like the training environment across medicine broadly that has been present during the last 10 years. To coin a phrase want to “take back control” of how they work and that’s easier to do as a GP than as a hospital consultant’.

sessions per week after cct piechart 290x275px

sessions per week after cct piechart 290x275px

why you chose gen prac piechart 290x275px

why you chose gen prac piechart 290x275px

 

Source: The survey was launched on 30 June, collecting responses using the SurveyMonkey tool. The 18 questions asked covered a wide range of GP trainee topics, to avoid selection bias on one issue. The survey was advertised to readers via our website and email newsletter, with a prize draw for £200 worth of pizza as an incentive to complete the survey. A total of 280 GP trainees answered these questions

Readers' comments (10)

  • I think we have to remember what this means for new GPs. They're not lazy or workshy. They find themselves in an impossible job where a two session day is really a three session day. They have to do this job for the next forty years and are trying to protect themselves from burnout. As a result they're only being paid two thirds of what they should be paid. We need to get rid of the idea of sessions and move to a per patient rate. My two session 'day starts at 745 and finishes at 7pm. This is not two sessions!!! GPC get rid of the idea of sessions. All it does is devalue us and has eroded our pay. We need to be paid per patient contact!!!

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  • Please can we stop referring to Ian Cumming as "professor" - he has a honorary degree just like George Osborne and Oprah Winfrey, he hasn't had an academic career and has no publications on the subject

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  • Just Your Average Joe

    "(Professor) Ian Cumming told delegates at the NHS Confederation conference in June that full-time equivalent (FTE) GP numbers were down because ‘Generation Y and Z and millennials are increasingly not wanting to work the same number of hours that many of the baby boomers and Generation X want to work’."

    Actually it is the number of hours forced onto partners to work in order to satisfy the ridiculous patient demand hoisted onto GPs by successive governments - telling patients to expect immediate access all the time, so flood with self limiting illnesses on multiple visits, and just in case, and can you do this because no-one else will, and move paid work from hospitals and GP can do for free attitude.

    If partners worked normal salaried sessions - the NHS would collapse in days.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Sign of the times
    Reasonable ask from the young people. Nothing wrong with that.
    Not interested in the comment from some Mr C.
    Do not say that this zombie government is not responsible for this current situation.

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  • In General Practice part time is the equivalent of full time anywhere else.
    Did you highlight that Prof Cumming, or are you not really a professor at all?

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  • Well said Jason - glad we are attracting and producing the best Trainees!

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  • He had to be made a 'Prof' so he could head the HEE. Don't expect common sense from this head.

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  • Good for the junior doctors, no reason why they should sacrifice their physical & mental health for the NHS. They are entitled to a work life balance, just like everyone else, and will be better doctors for it. Possibly if they'd been treated better by Jeremy Hunt etc they might feel differently & more motivated, its not rocket science!

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  • Health Education England (HEE) is an executive non-departmental public body of the Department of Health- (thank you Wikipedia). It suits the Dept of Health to present the recruitment crisis as a problem with the doctors and to completely ignore the increasing impossibility of the job done full time..
    Mr Cumming is just towing his arm's length employer's line. How he sleeps I don't know.

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  • 6 sessions over 3 days now routinely hitting 40 hours at the surgery plus work from home to clear the stuff I am just too knackered to do after 13h+ without stopping. If I was a partner i'd have 2 or 3 evening meetings plus running the business (which is why I am no longer a partner). Perhaps time to stop thinking in terms of sessions and look at hours actually worked?

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