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At the heart of general practice since 1960

40% of GPs to quit within five years

Four out of five GPs in England are planning to cut back or stop practising in the next five years, with half of those intending to quit for good, according to a survey carried out in the West Midlands.

Out of nearly 1,200 GP respondents, four out of five – 82% – said they would be leaving general practice, reducing their clinical hours or taking a career break.

And around two out of five – 42% – said they intended to leave the job completely, while almost a quarter – 23% – said they planned to take a break.

Only 67 (5.6%) respondents said they planned to increase their hours of clinical work.

GPs intending to leave cited the volume and intensity of their workload, too much time spent on unimportant tasks and introduction of a seven-day working week as major contributors to their decision.

The study’s authors, from the University of Warwick Medical School, said their findings reflected ‘the breadth and magnitude of factors contributing to the workforce crisis facing general practice in England’ and suggest the ‘the scale of this crisis may be even greater than previously reported’.

They concluded: ‘New models of professionalism and organisational arrangements may be needed to address the issues described here. Without urgent action, the GP workforce crisis in England seems set to worsen.’

BMC Family Practice 2015; available online 16 October

Readers' comments (51)

  • The government are playing the game well. It's all set to fall into their ideology. The NHS fails becasue the greedy lazy good for nothing GPs have left.
    Private is better than public. New 'services' fill the gap costing the patient more for less. The GPs left to work will be supervising noctors.

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  • Intending to quit is very different from actually doing it and one thing that GPs excel in is to moan but do nothing.

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  • Not only moaning GPs retire. My colleague who did not turn up at the pool last week actually retires in 5 days and I was not aware of it:(
    The retirement of these non-moaners may actually bring the NHS down because we don't know how many of them are amongst us.
    Nolan's first principle is Transparency and those who have been through Leadership courses will know that the DoH has built on these principles to ingrain them in NHS daily life. However, the lack of transparency in payments to some Practices, where the data on Open Exeter statements is ignored completely, brings into question the tranparency of NHSE and sincerity of this government to the extent that one could be talking of state sponsored partisan activity in NHS Finances. Wonder why only 40% are leaving while 60% are still going to stay - two-tier playfield?

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  • I used to moan and have now gone half time!

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  • I didn't moan, I just left at the end of July aged 49. Best decision I have made, not much money but loads of time to look for another source of non-medical income. Although the Daily Mail readers and politicians think we are overpaid and under worked the amount of money to spend at the end of a month after tax, pension payments, NI etc. just isn't worth it. I get up each morning looking forward to the day and have virtually stopped drinking wine! To anyone considering departure my advice is to do it soon.

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  • My moaning partners:
    1 left
    1 reduced hours
    3 leaving in 2 years time
    All bar 1 is or will under 55 at time of retirement.
    All would like to continue. I'm nearer 50 than 40 and would go if I didn't need to pay of mortgages but I used to love the job and felt the sacrifices worth it- no longe;r I will be a clock watcher if it ever goes to a salaried service.

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  • I moaned and left my partnership 18/12 ago. My colleagues appeared surprised that I left and had not taken my moaning seriously. Another partner also left and now they cannot recruit. I don't know how long the remainder will continue. One reduced hours and none now works full time.

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  • The real issue or question is when will NHSE find that it has become impossible to find doctors or noctors to actually do the job for the resources that they offer, whether GMS or APMS? At that point general practice will completely fall apart. That date is certainly approaching, but do people think it's within a year or five years?

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  • I moaned, not for long, and now I locum full time. Best thing ever. Its like watching everyone get hammered while sober.

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  • Doing a similar survey among consultants would also be an interesting thing. Of those that I know many are also considering retirement or reduction in hours

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