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The recruitment timebomb has been lit

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If you think general practice is in a bad state now, wait until you see the results of the failed recruitment strategies of the past few years.

Pulse’s revelation that there has been a 6% decrease in the number of medical graduates applying to general practice compared with last year – the second decrease in a row – shows that all attempts to increase GP numbers are continuing to fail.

The fact of the matter is that deaneries are not able to convince young medics that GP is a career worth choosing.

They are trying: NHS England’s ten-point plan is at least an attempt to increase GP numbers, starting in medical schools.

Even the RCGP is getting involved, with a sharp change of tack – having previously decried the state of general practice, it is now claiming there is ‘no better time in a generation’ to enter the profession.

But, speaking to medical graduates, it is clear what the problem is: they hear the reality of the state of general practice and they decide they can do without the stress and long hours the job entails.

It won’t be gimmicks and short-term measures that will tempt would-be GPs – something NHS England itself admits.

It will be long-term stable investment in routine care.

But this argument that has been made a thousand times, and the failure to listen is coming home to roost.

The simple truth is that, come two to three years’ time, we will have a huge shortfall in the numbers of GPs coming through.

Of course, Health Education England claims that this drop in applications is ‘only half the story’ and we must wait until we see the fill rates before judging.

But this is plain wrong. The drop in applications leads to two things: a drop in the number of positions filled or an unpalatable lowering of the standards for entry.

The target of 3,250 new GPs a year by 2016 – a deadline already delayed by a year – is highly unlikely to be met.

But this was a very minimum, and way off projections around how many GPs we will really need to shift care from hospitals.

The timebomb had been lit, and it is a case of waiting for it to explode. 

 

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Readers' comments (23)

  • Great article

    The stage is set now for a complete meltdown of primary care.

    There is nowhere to turn . People in the job are leaving abroad or retiring. Significant numbers are choosing to locum and thereby set their terms and conditions. Huge numbers are part timers of choose a portfolio career as a way of life.

    It's been on the cards for years but no one listened!!

    Even a huge increase in pay now won't make a difference because the infrastructure of control is what needs dismantling and that just won't happen.

    Get rid of managers, pen pushers and bureaucrats. Destroy the GMC or severely limit it's mandate. Castrate the CQC. Retire revalidation. Consign CCGS to the dustbin of history!!

    None of this of course will happen........... They'll just carry on down the path of denial and stupidity !!

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  • Watch out come this April when a huge number of GPs will be retiring.

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  • AUNTH / neera aah gaya!! ( the end/ darkness has arrived)!!

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  • is the Pulse Team having a laugh?

    the causes of the crisis have been well documented by the posters on this site for the last few years and the RCGP, NHSE, deaneries - basically the leadership are part of the problem.

    politicians lie to win votes - they will always take the easy option. they divide and rule to put through their own agenda with scapegoats in the wings. they are predictable.

    the media has to sell 'papers' so will skew facts and pander to their own readership (left or right). there is no benefit to them to be balanced or fair. again predictable.

    but our leadership ???

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  • Pay them and they will come.

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  • A pedant writes.. You detonate a bomb, you light a fuse...

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  • So if we all went 'private' we could regain some control and market forces would be brought to bear on the £135 a year this issue of PULKSE has published as the price for ' unlimited access to your GP'....GP's, all of whom have to undergo the unpiloted, well intentioned and utterly useless, unfit for purpose CQC, appraisal, etc etc hoops dreamt up to increase employment amongst the otherwise unemployable

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  • "The drop in applications leads to two things: a drop in the number of positions filled or an unpalatable lowering of the standards for entry."

    It wasn't that long ago that the standard of entry was a medical degree + house jobs. I'm not advocating a return to that, but I do wonder if the RCGP and educationalists have an unrealistic and narrow expectation of what makes a good GP.

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  • @1:20

    the view and consensus amoungst most GP trainers is that compulsory MRCGP has imprvoed the qualtiy of care and standardised things. As you say, traditional GP yielded some pretty unsafe charlatans still practicing stone age medicine.

    A bar has to be set somewhere, and why shouldnt it be set high?

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  • It is against the grain of most doctors to lie, so we can not really hand on heart any poor soul to come and be trampled on in GP land. I tell them all to emigrate and never think of coming back. Hope to join them soon as well...
    I disagree with anonyous 1.30. there are are enough Charlatans out there with the nMRCGP...

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