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Majority of GPs ‘would consider leaving NHS’ amid inadequate Government support


leaving NHS


More than half of GPs would consider leaving the NHS if the Government does not provide them with the support they need, a BMA survey has found.

In the week before the announcement of NHS England’s plan to improve access, the BMA surveyed more than 6,000 GPs in England on what they were ‘prepared to do’ if there was no ‘satisfactory response’ from the Government to deal with the current abuse and workload crises.

The BMA today revealed that more than half (54%) of respondents said they would think about ‘leaving the NHS altogether’ if the Government did not provide adequate support. Meanwhile, two-thirds (66%) said they were prepared to reduce their hours to ‘protect themselves from the current crisis’.

In a separate BMA ‘snap poll’ conducted after the support package was released, 93% of almost 3,500 GP respondents in England said the package is an ‘unacceptable response’ to the crisis.

The BMA said this ‘is the clearest articulation yet that frontline GPs working across the country do not believe the plan will go any way to addressing the pressures facing general practice, staff and patients.’

BMA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘This shows the profession has out and out rejected this shambles of a plan from the Government and NHS England. If the health secretary thinks it is enough to provide a lifeline to surgeries this winter, let alone save general practice in the long term, this response shows how wrong he is. 

‘The BMA provided the health secretary with a clear plan to help address the crisis in the short term, that could improve patient access and guarantee safe, high-quality care, while also putting forward longer-term solutions. He chose to ignore that and instead we have a shambolic plan that has failed before it has begun. These survey results show how angry and despondent GPs are. The profession clearly sees the Government’s name and shame approach as a bully’s charter, which will intensify existing problems.’

He added: ‘We have already lost the equivalent of more than 1,800 full-time, fully qualified GPs in the last six years and with a majority of family doctors now saying they could be forced to reduce their hours or leave the NHS altogether because of a lack of support, the situation could get far, far worse. This will be on the Health Secretary’s watch. He will be to blame.’

It comes as the BMA’s GP Committee has convened an emergency meeting to take place ‘in the next few days’ to discuss what action to take in response to NHS England’s GP access plan.

Meanwhile, one LMC has advised local practices ‘not to participate in any aspect’ of NHS England’s measures to improve access to general practice.

The GP ‘support’ package and its measures to improve access were met with fierce criticism from GPs and their leaders.

READERS' COMMENTS [11]

Mr Marvellous 19 October, 2021 1:28 pm

54% is lower than desirable, but at least still a majority.

Right then. Time to act BMA?

Charles McEvoy 19 October, 2021 2:08 pm

More than enough of a majority to pull an entire country out of the EU – we now need a credible plan for practices to hand back their contracts and ‘go dental’. Let’s see if the NHS wants to buy services from us, and let’s see what services we want to sell. Gatekeeping for the NHS? I think that might be expensive, but not half as expensive as the alternative.

Some" Bloke 19 October, 2021 3:27 pm

ehh.. only thing is- we already are independent contractors who sell our services to NHS and there is no other commissioner who would buy our services in volume that could keep our salaried staff employed while also allow us to have some profit.
I am not sure what “leaving NHS altogether” means, other than being a statement of intent to retire, maybe.

NHS is NOT the Envy of the World 19 October, 2021 3:30 pm

Would’ve,could’ve, should’ve…now how many times have I read that on these forums over the last 20 years.The GPs have always seemed far too comfortable to quit in droves but they do moan alot and the government keeps calling our bluff every single time.

Patrufini Duffy 19 October, 2021 5:15 pm

There is no point in this article anywhere but the front page of the BBC or Daily Mail. I am sure you can infiltrate it somewhere.

If this read “majority of cardiologists, accident and emergency doctors and neurosurgeons considering leaving the NHS or reducing sessions” – what resposne would happen?

Anthony Mohammed 19 October, 2021 7:05 pm

How do dentists manage and they only focus on one area of the body?

Also, there are many private GP practices surviving even with competition from free-at-the-point of-use NHS surgeries.

The market will settle the price but my gut feeling is that GPs will earn more if they left the NHS, however, the issue isn’t about money it is about safety i.e. providing safe care to our patients and our own ‘safety’ and well being. we are at the point where we can’t guarantee safe care (the BMA, RCGP need to be honest about this) and the health and well being of many GPs are on the line too. Some of us can’t give any more and those who can need to appreciate that.

Subhash Chandra Bhatt 19 October, 2021 7:17 pm

No young gp would leave . They never did in past. I have seen all these threats in past.
I have done general practice for well over 3 decades and seen all these threats before..

Turn out The Lights 19 October, 2021 9:34 pm

Just think, no scripts signed, no sick notes dont, no ganfyd letters done, no one to do dogsbody duties for the scrubbed up boy from the big shiny building, no one to do gp to do tasks , (without being paid to do),no one for the local pharmacist to say go and se your GP,no benefits notes done, no insurance reports done, no one to retrieve a full set of notes, no one to chase the failing secondary care follow up appointments for sheep like patient who cant phone themselves, no one to moan any about no existent side effects from drugs.vaccine etc.No one to do shared care protocol for Dmards/drugged up children or expensive drugs.No one to do work up for secondary care clinic who are to lasty or under staffed to do any work themselves., and many other shitty tasks dumped on us from everyone.Just think the now failing booster programme blowing up in the face of the tories as there is no one to push it.A failing flu programme.Ther are countless other little things we do that when we are gone there will be no one to do.Tehy need us a lot more than we need them.Imagine in a new model we charge for each task done ??how much??would not take long to recoup the pittance we get per patient at the moment.To make the same movie we would be doing less work.With fewer GPs.How much for a home visit remind me how much is a plumber again.They need us more than we need them.

Ben Lees 19 October, 2021 11:41 pm

It’s time to go.

Mr Marvellous 20 October, 2021 8:48 am

“we already are independent contractors who sell our services to NHS and there is no other commissioner who would buy our services in volume that could keep our salaried staff employed while also allow us to have some profit.”

You think £120 per year for 6-7 consults is good for us? You’re underselling yourself (and the rest of the profession). A non-NHS fee based model seems to work elsewhere – well almost everywhere – in the world. GPs in Australia, NZ etc aren’t doing too badly.

Why do you think it wouldn’t work here?

Some" Bloke 20 October, 2021 10:31 am

trust me, I have no love for current system. Just doubt many will have the guts to actually quit.
as for why a fee based model wouldn’t work here- many reasons for this, including our own ways of working. imagine the wailing that will follow if there is any adverse outcome that might be even remotely linked with changes to FATPOA access