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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GPs face long wait until retirement as review omits them from age-related 'risk' list

GPs face working late into their sixties before qualifying for an NHS pension after a major review excluded the profession from a list of ‘at risk’ jobs that were difficult to do later on in life.

Preliminary findings from the Working Longer Review group - which includes representation from the BMA - said that it had identified dentists, surgeons and midwives as groups who would struggle to carry on in their jobs if retirement ages were raised over 60 years. But not GPs.

The GPC criticised the omission of GPs from the list of ‘at risk’ professions, saying there is a lack of understanding of how strenuous working as a GP is.

The Working Longer Review group has been considering ‘how NHS staff will continue to provide excellent and compassionate care when
they are working longer’ and was a last-ditch attempt to block chancellor George Osborne’s plans to increase the retirement age to 65 years by 2015, and subsequently 68 years by 2046.

Last year, the BMA said it hoped the Working Longer Review - a group of trade unions, NHS Employers and the Department of Health - would decide that those with physically or mentally demanding jobs could have their retirement age capped earlier.

But a review of evidence from University of Bath researchers - published last year - that found NHS workers were capable of working longer when reporting to the Government last year.

This new evidence is a further blow, omitted GPs from the list of ‘at risk’ professions. The list included nurses, midwives, porters, paramedics, catering and estates staff, surgeons, mental health practitioners, radiographers, community health workers, physiotherapists and dentists.

According to the review group’s evidence call from NHS staff, there was ‘a very high level of concern about their physical and psychological capability to undertake their NHS duties for a longer period of time’.

The report stated: ‘The fear of burnout and the cumulative impact of very physically demanding jobs are cited by most as the reason why they think working longer will pose a problem to safe and effective service delivery and excellent patient care in the future… The following areas of risk were identified…’

Despite a ‘day of action’ in June 2012, the BMA has all but conceded that GPs will have to continue paying up to 14.5% pensions contributions after the Pensions Act is enshrined in law.

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said he was disappointed in the findings. He said: ‘Yes we had hoped to be treated in line with other doctors, particularly those who are in stressful situations. Large numbers of GPs are looking to retire and we struggle to retain doctors. Pensions are one of the issues that are driving GPs away and that needs to be recognised by Government or they will face a crisis of recruitment and retention. They need to actually deal with that urgently.’

‘GPs do all of those jobs, essentially, so I think that the fact that GPs aren’t on that list is quite odd. There is a lack of understanding of what is involved in general practice and the pressures on GPs, but it is all too obvious when you look at the numbers who are looking at retiring as soon as possible.’

‘You are almost running a marathon in general practice every day just to keep on top of the workload, do ten-minute consultations, repeatedly dealing with emergency situations. You need to be mentally and physically fit to cope with that.’


Readers' comments (51)

  • "The list included nurses, midwives, porters, paramedics, catering and estates staff, surgeons, mental health practitioners, radiographers, community health workers, physiotherapists and dentists."

    So we are to believe we have less "physical and psychological" stress as GPs then catering staff, porters and estate staff?

    If GPC/BMA has any interest in representing the GPs, they should mount a legal challenege to this non erected "Working Longer Review group" to ask for proof this is the case. But I know they won't as BMA really has no interest in protcting the primary care.

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  • Teeth are very heavy, they must be heavier than a ring pessary. Teeth are very difficult to extract, more difficult than a ring pessary in an 80 years old atrophic vagina.

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  • As a GP I would say that 25% is exclusively mental health related and the rest often has a big mental health component.

    Every ten minutes we see another patient with a different problem and have to shift gear to find solutions to diverse problems. Often one treatment worsens another condition. We have to consider so many different things. General Practice is incredibly stressful. You often take on the patient's burden.

    I have a pension forecast for me to retire at 55. I may even go earlier if the stress gets any worse.

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  • This report will not stop the exodus or the recruitment crisis.

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  • Divide and rule,quite simple. Silence for the response, there won't be one, because for the majority of new GP's part time work will not be considered high risk.

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  • Vinci Ho

    See , this is devious.
    By not including us into the risk , it has a metaphorical meaning that GPs were lazy bas***d and hence they could work longer than 60 years old to repay what they had 'owed' the service.
    If you do not know think this is insulting , you are a 'saint' .......

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  • Sorry to be the diagreeing voice here, but almost all the doctors I know, whether hospital or practice based, work part time anyway.

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  • We should be allowed to retire at 60 because by then we have worked as many hours as someone working to 85 with normal "office " hours .

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  • Bob Hodges

    Stop contributing to the NHS pension then!!

    It's called 'form SD502'

    It's now just a VERY expensive life insurance policy - 2 years death in service equivalent life cover costs buttins compared with a couple of grand per month contribution to the NHS Ponzi scheme.

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  • Took Early Retirement

    Even better Bob, go early like Mrs G and I are.

    Actually this shows how tish-scared (anag) the Vermin (aka HMG) are: they want all the existing GPs to go on to 70 as they KNOW they are in a massive workforce crisis which can only be solved by importing lots of GPs from Romania.
    John (Formerly CW on DNUK, years ago)

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