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Half of GPs willing to resign NHS contracts in protest at state of general practice



Exclusive Almost half of GPs support mass resignation from the NHS in protest at the current state of general practice, a Pulse survey has revealed.

The survey of 922 GPs found that 49% are willing to resign their NHS contracts to highlight issues such as chronic underfunding, relentless bureaucracy and the ‘misrepresentation’ of doctors.

However, 35% of respondents said they were against the measure, saying that mass resignation could enable the Government to divide the profession and privatise the NHS.

It comes as senior GP leaders prepare for a crisis summit in 30 January, which will look specifically at ‘what actions are needed to ensure GPs can deliver a safe and sustainable service’ and after junior doctors forced health secretary Jeremy Hunt back to the negotiating with their vote to strike earlier this month.

GPs said they were angry at the lack of Government action as practices faced an unprecedented shortage of GPs, their income falling to the lowest level for nine years and many being forced to close down.

They said that the ‘new deal’ announced by the health secretary earlier this year had failed to deal with the problems many practices were having.

Dr David Goldberg, a GP in Merseyside, said: ‘Over the last few years all actions by the Government point to the fact that they are engineering a fight with doctors. The Government misrepresents us repeatedly. They misrepresent doctors’ work ethic but nothing could be further from the truth. The only option we have left is to post-date resignation letters en masse.’

Dr Karen Buchanan, a GP in North Tyneside, said: ‘I’m massively frustrated by the situation in general practice. To the point, after 20 years, where I’m not sure I can continue working in the NHS. I see the whole structure of general practice being dismantled, a structure that had been admired world-wide. The opinions of the workforce are repeatedly ignored by the Government. Money is being poured in to wasteful, inefficient ”money saving” schemes. We may have less targets to reach but we are always the target for the media.’

But Dr Andrew Sant, a GP and medical director at Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, told Pulse that resigning was not a solution and the profession should instead push for an alternative model of care: ‘This would probably be in a large provider working as an accountable or integrated care organisation rather than a practice.’

Results in full

Would you support mass resignation from the NHS due to the current state of general practice?

Yes: 449 (48.7%)

No: 319 (34.6%)

Don’t know: 154 (16.7%)

Total number of respondents: 922

The survey was launched on 26th October 2015, collating responses using the SurveyMonkey tool. The 20 questions asked covered a wide range of GP topics, to avoid selection bias on one issue. The survey was advertised to readers via our website and email newsletter, with a prize draw for a Samsung HD TV as an incentive to complete the survey. A total of 922 GPs answered this question.