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At the heart of general practice since 1960

We must stop GPs leaving the profession, says minister

General practice must remain a desirable option for doctors in order to reverse the trend of stressed GPs leaving the profession, says a health minister.

Earl Howe told the Family Doctor Association conference in Nottingham this weekend that he was, ‘well aware of the pressures that GPs are under’ with rising patient demand.

He said that the Government want to tackle the ‘box ticking’ required of GPs and that there needed to be an increase in the number of GPs to avoid burnout and improve access for patients.

He said: ‘There are people so stressed out they are leaving the profession. We want to stop that.’

He told the conference that, ‘part of the answer lies in having more GPs.’

There are currently 35,000 GPs today in comparison to 30,000 in 2002. The minister said: ‘It’s plateauing and we are not achieving our targets for recruiting new GPs, which is why we have tasked Health Education England to see that a greater number of trainees go into general practice.’

He emphasised that health ministers, ‘really do recognise how hard you work. I am regularly told of the long hours spent with patients followed by long hours spent with paperwork,’ but that ‘general practice must remain a desirable option for doctors.’

HEE has a target of recruiting 3,250 GP trainees per year, which will constitute 50% of medical graduates. However, Pulse also revealed that deaneries have recruited only 95 additional GP trainees to begin training this year, casting serious doubt on whether the new body - which was established in April this year - will reach its targets.

Readers' comments (32)

  • Too late pal. Took VER several months ago years before I could have worked until. That was from a highly desirable region of the UK too. Best career choice ever.

    I must thank the politicians for ruining General Practice because it helped me get out at an age I can actually enjoy retirement. Thank you so much and I would strongly advise others to follow before they block the exit routes.

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  • It's strange - I can't *quite* see how increasing bureaucracy with stupid targets (GPPAQ anyone?), making life harder year on year, CQC, revalidation, talking of 24h responsibility (stupid stupid stupid on top of a 60hr week) and constantly reducing incomes year will help to stop GPs leaving the Profession.

    Maybe the Minister could explain it to me?

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  • It's shocking to see so many senior colleagues organizing their retirement. This will be disastrous to lose these skills so rapidly over the next 5 years.

    There won't be an answer as governments/civil servants are incapable of actual planning when they are fixated by 'free market dogma'

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  • Too late mate. I've already gone. Leaving UK was the best thing I've done for my family too.

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  • Luckily i don't have kids.Once my mortgage is paid i'm leaving.

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  • Too late, already resigned!

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  • Too late will eb leaving soon

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  • Well Freddy,
    You could start by playing fair with GPs. Both Labour and yourselves have clawed back every penny we negotiated fairly and above booard in 2004 yet our consulation rates are up 30%. Your governement has been complicit in a sustained anti GP media frenzy have allowed dissemination of deliberate disinformation, permitted managers to bully and ignored professional advice from those on the ground particularly over 111 from which you have got a bloody nose. Now is the time to start listening to the elected representatives of all GPs and not just "stakeholders" who massage your egos telling ypu what you want to hear. 31% of us are over 56 and you are in the last chance saloon to save GP or be blamed for the collapse of the NHS. Time to start listening and either re-allocating resources to GP DIRECTLY OR face meltdown for which you will be blamed.
    YOU have done nothing to dispelk the myth that GPs dont do OOH any more, You fail to recognise that Jeremy Hunts incessant demands mean that we are working 60 hour weeks BEFORE any OOH work . THIS IS NOT SUSTAINABLE. STOP winding up public expectation
    Peter Holden GPC negotiator
    (and a card carrying tory!)

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  • One feels the horse has bolted ran up the hill and the stable door if flapping in the wind.To little too late

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  • Well said Peter but they have a different agenda I'm afraid the fact is that as a locum you can now earn as much as a GMS partner without worrying about 24/7 commitment or OOH/DES or keeping people employed,the exodus has started and HMG probably has figures that show this or he wouldn't have made this statement,the bandwagon is rolling and people will leave,to be a doctor you need good a levels and in our society people who are well qualified will not go into medecine unless it is well paid,the Tories want it on the cheap so mass medical immigration is on the cards and british doctors are starting to emigrate and take early retirement

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