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GPs buried under trusts' workload dump

What can be done to solve the GP recruitment crisis?

Three GPs consider what needs to be done to solve the GP workforce crisis

‘Make general practice more attractive’

dr Krishna Kasaraneni

The constant criticism of GPs in the media does us no favours. The public and the NHS need, and deserve, more GPs and the perpetual GP bashing needs to stop immediately if we are to avoid a severe shortage in the very near future.

There is also a misconception about what general practice is about and what GPs actually do. It needs to be promoted as a positive career choice rather than a ‘back-up’ if nothing else works out.

Even with greater efforts around recruitment, this will only offer a long-term solution – especially with plans to extend GP training to four years.

Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, chair of the GPC trainees subcommittee

‘Remove barriers for returners’

Dr Maureen baker - online

We put up huge barriers to people who we have trained at great taxpayer expense and we positively prohibit these doctors from picking up their careers again in UK general practice.

I query the appropriateness of these routes onto the performers’ list. What we’re proposing is to work with others, to agree a set of principles around safe, proportionate return to general practice.

Someone who has been working in general practice in, say, Australia for three years has needs in terms of supported return that are likely to be very different from someone who has been out of practice completely for eight or nine years.

We could potentially have a short-term surge in the general practice workforce just by getting the best out of the potential for returners.

Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the RCGP

‘Fix the leaky bucket’

Dr Beth McCarron-Nash online

The evidence shows we’re training more GPs but many are choosing to work part-time because of the issues of burnout, many are going abroad and practices are finding it very difficult to forward-plan because funding is so uncertain. It’s a perfect storm for a recruitment and retention crisis.

We need to focus on the ‘leaky bucket’ – there is no point pouring more in at the top when so much is seeping out of the bottom. Many GPs are considering retiring early or working part-time in order to cope with stress.

We need a national workforce solution. At the moment the policy is to devolve workforce planning right down to the [local education training boards] and local priorities – but since that national resource structure has been subsumed within local budgets, funding is only happening in a piecemeal fashion.

Dr Beth McCarron-Nash, GPC negotiator and a GP in Cornwall

Read the full investigation: Are we at risk of running out of GPs?

Readers' comments (30)

  • Bob Hodges

    People are always very keen to take work off GPs when its work that brings in money.

    No one has ever tried to take work off me without taking money as well.

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  • Its true that GPs are under pressure, but much is of own making. Shorter working weeks, shorter working hours. Some practices buying up smaller ones with little increase in numbers of doctors. I agree, it would be better to return to training more GPs and welcoming returners. However, I am less supportive of doctors wages becoming higher and higher as money fixes nothing and no help to patients who cannot see a GP and may well be charged at A&E through no fault of their own. More GPs are needed that is clear.

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  • You forgot to add- there will be no seniority payments if you stay the course

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  • @ 10.37

    Sums up most of the woes of primary care today.

    Add CQC fees due for increasing, constant movement of the bar - initial QOF improved health care and was a fair yard stick to judge the quality of care. But the upward increase is like asking for every drop of blood from a stone, as targets are just not realistic when based on real patients in the real world, and an environment of austerity, and are just an extra claw back on GP finances.

    The profession will remain fragmented in the 2 tier partner and salaried system, designed to divide and rule, and allow outside private companies in, without consideration of the drop in standards it would bring, in a profit seeking environment.

    Bring back the basic practice allowance as an incentive to partnership, and bring back the personalised care needed for an advancing elderly population, with a known GP for 4 decades of a patients life.

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  • Took Early Retirement

    Nothing CAN be done now: it is too late and I am delighted to be exacerbating it by going early myself. Add to a list of reasons the fact that one will be paying tax in REAL money on a "pension pot" that is only virtual money.

    The system will collapse in the over-worked under-resourced (paid) inner city areas first but it is only when it hits the more affluent areas, much later, where the more strident and media-savvy voices are that the public will really notice.

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  • Who in their right mind would want to be a GP?
    The way GP's are treated is appalling, they are the backbone of the NHS yet are treated like naughty school children for not doing their homework!

    We need to give GP's back the respect they deserve and stop the 'GP bashing' game!

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  • Easy solution, stop the government meddling in a service they know nothing about, get rid of NHS England, Monitor and the CQC and allow doctors to do what they trained to do, care fro the sick!

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  • I would have thought RCGP have provisioned this since they designed the CSA in 2010 in such a way that is impossible to pass by IMGs.
    The worse is still to come.

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  • Food for thoughts for workforce planners.

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  • The answer lies in valuing GP's. treating them with respect, not forgetting they have spent years training, they are very trustworthy and don't need 'big brother' checking they did every task correctly.

    I feel sick to the stomach at the amount go GP bashing that is going on and have to wonder why my GP bothers to come to work.

    GP's need to feel valued but the NHS promised patients the earth without having the resources to meet that need, and have then blamed GP's fro the shortfall.

    My GP work 60 hours plus per week, whilst he is there to look after my health, I tend to feel I am more worried about his!

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