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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Over one third of GPs 'may retire' within five years, warns BMA

The largest-ever GP survey has revealed stark figures threatening retention within the profession, including over one third considering retiring altogether.

Releasing the second part to its survey of nearly 16,000 grassroots GPs, the BMA said 34% were thinking of retiring from the GP profession in the next five years.

Also concerning, over one quarter (28%) of respondents who currently worked full time said they were considering going down to part time.

This came as 16% of all survey respondents said that their stress levels were ‘significant and unmanageable’.

Conducted by ICM Unlimited for the BMA, the major survey also saw less than half of GPs (47%) would recommend general practice as a career, although at 53% Scottish GPs were slightly more likely to do so than in Wales (at 48%), England and Northern Ireland (both at 45%).

The results also delivered a warning on retention among the youngest GPs entering the profession, as one in five GP trainees said they are considering leaving the UK to work abroad over the next five-year period.

The GPC said that the ‘incredible pressures’ on GP services were to blame for this crisis of the workforce.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘This poll lays bare the stark reality of the crisis facing the GP workforce. A third of GPs are considering leaving the health service in the next five years and a significant number are also thinking about reducing their working hours. It is clear that incredible pressures on GP services are at the heart of this problem, with escalating demand having far outstripped capacity.

‘GPs are overworked and intensely frustrated that they do not have enough time to spend with their patients, especially the increasing numbers of older people with multiple and complex problems who need specialised care.’

When asked what impacts most negatively on their commitment to the profession, 71% said excessive workload. The next most common answers concerned unresourced work being moved into general practice (54%) and not being able to spend enough time with patients (43%).

Dr Nagpaul said: ‘In this climate it is absurd that in the recent leaders’ debate, political parties were attempting to outbid each other on the number of GPs they could magically produce in the next Parliament. Since it takes five to eight years to train a GP it is not possible to create thousands of GPs in this time frame. It is deeply worrying that a fifth of GP trainees, the GPs of the future, are hoping to move abroad before 2020.

Last week, the first part to the BMA’s GP survey revealed that nine out of ten GPs think the ten-minute consultation standard is inadequate for patient care, with GPC calling on politicians to rethink party pledges focusing on the speediest access to appointments.

 

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  • Dr Chaand Nagpaul

Readers' comments (38)

  • consider the following;

    1. seven day working 12 hours a day
    2. 48 hour access
    3. same day access for over 75'
    4. named GP for every patient
    5. movement of secondary care services to primary care
    6. end of independent practice
    7. salaried profession i.e. controlled
    8. increasing demands by Quangos moving goalposts at will
    9. GMC willing to take an even harder line, multiple jeopardy etc
    10. drive to reduce referrals and prescribing in the face of litigation for the slightest mistake.
    11. more and more demand etc etc etc

    The point is - if you think things are bad now - you ain't seen nothing yet and when things start to get worse that 'one third' may change to 50% then 70%...

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  • People who retire early are those who can afford to retire early.

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  • This should be front page holding news in all media. GPs have and are being victimised in a despicable way.

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  • Una Coales

    On Inside Harley Street, Professor Roger Kirby shared that he had worked for the NHS for 25 years before he left (and is now solely private). He called it serving longer than a prison life sentence.

    When I retired this year, after my 19-year NHS life sentence, it was a relief and a breath of fresh air. No more stressing over pointless appraisal and revalidation paperwork, listening to an East European patient threaten me with a lawsuit if I did not refer them to the specialist for a minor condition, answering a young EU patient's question on what can I get for free on the NHS, replying to malicious GMC complaints from institutions and receiving no apology when cleared, etc. I should have realised what socialist medicine was when many years ago after a long weekend on call from Friday 8 am to Monday, instead of being praised for covering an entire ENT hospital service with intake from 5 hospitals, I was scolded because I did not cover an extra ENT clinic that Monday afternoon (not in my rota). I explained I was exhausted and went home instead to my 3 young children who had only seen their mother for 1 hour over 3 days. I wrote the consultant a 4 page letter of what I had done during that horrendous on call going on a few hours of sleep on a 77 hour straight shift and knew by standing up for myself, I had committed ENT career suicide.

    Well I applaud all the GPs who have emigrated, gone private or retired early. Time to wake up and stand up to abuse and exploitation because the longer you stay in the NHS, the worse it will get!

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  • "People who retire early are those who can afford to retire early"

    Wrong!

    I retired at 54 and have no income whatsoever. I am relying on my husband to earn enough to support me and we have cut down on living expenses to cope. As a younger GP I received no maternity leave, no sick pay or paid annual leave and, importantly, no pension contributions. my pension will not be great as it is based on only 20 years and includes part time working.

    You have choices.... and they include retraining to do something entirely different if that is better. My choice was that a healthy and happy life was more important than money.

    If you are at the start of your career, do something else. DO NOT choose general practice and expect it to get better. If you are in the middle of your career, consider stepping sideways into occupational health, another speciality or emigrating.

    You are highly skilled and intelligent people who have choices and should look after your own interests. Blind and ignorant ( unfounded) jealousy of other people will not help.

    We are all being shafted and I for one can't wait for the day that the government wake up to what they have done.

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  • @1:45- I agree with 6:26- I'm 54 and not planning retirement because I can afford it. Because I can't as 6:26.
    It's a choice you have to make. There is a whole Healthcare and Research industry out there and opportunities galore. If you don't want that then there is scope in Academics or always the opportunity to locum.
    If you want to take back control of your life and not let unscrupulous people associated with quangos and politicians manipulate you- then retire.

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  • John Glasspool

    Over 1/3 of GPs "may retire" is not really news, is it? It is a bit like saying, "The Tooth Fairy may come". We know it won't be like that.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Sad but true. The 'love' is over for many of us. Remember this song:

    "What Have I Done To Deserve This?"

    You always wanted a lover
    I only wanted a job
    I've always worked for my living
    How am I gonna get through?
    How am I gonna get through?

    I come here looking for money
    (Got to have it)
    And end up living with love, oh, oh
    Now you left me with nothing
    (Can't take it)
    How am I gonna get through?
    How am I gonna get through?

    You always wanted me to be something I wasn't
    You always wanted too much, oh, oh
    Now I can do what I want to - forever
    How am I gonna get through?
    How am I gonna get through?

    At night, the people come and go
    They talk too fast, and walk too slow
    Chasing time from hour to hour
    I pour the drinks and crush the flowers
    What have I, what have I done to deserve this?
    What have I, what have I, what have I done to deserve this?
    What have I, what have I, what have I ...
    We don't have to fall apart, we don't have to fight
    We don't need to go to hell and back every night
    We could make a deal

    What have I done to deserve this?

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  • 8-8 7 day week will see even more rushing for the exits..........

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  • At least the powers that beand the public cant complain they have not been warned of the pending irreversible collapse of primary care.

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