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Less than a quarter of GP trainees to stay in full-time clinical work, survey finds

Less than a quarter of GP trainees plan to practise full-time one year after qualifying, a think tank survey has revealed.

The survey of 729 GP trainees, conducted by the King’s Fund, found that just 22% of respondents ‘planned to work in full-time clinical general practice one year after qualifying’.

This fell to 5% of trainees planning to practise full-time 10 years after qualifying, with the ‘intensity of the working day’ the most common reason for not doing so.

Half of respondents said they would undertake ‘other clinical NHS work’ alongside their general practice commitments. 

The survey follows on from a 2016 King’s Fund report, which said that 10% of trainees had planned to practise full-time 10 years after qualifying.

The survey also revealed that only 37% of GP trainees said they plan to take up partnerships.

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This comes as the Government has launched a review of the partnership model to look at how to reduce premises liabilities and how GP partners can work more like sessionals.

RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said the findings are ‘not a surprise’.

She said: ‘The intense resource and workforce pressures facing general practice at the moment, mean that full-time working as a GP is often regarded as untenable.

She added: ‘It would be misguided and unhelpful for people to criticise the decision of GP trainees not to work full time, and suggest that this is contributing to workforce pressures – it is actually the flexibility that a career in general practice offers that makes it a sustainable career choice.’

Health Education England chief executive Professor Ian Cumming previously said young GPs working fewer hours than their older counterparts has resulted in the equivalent of 10% fewer doctors in the workforce.

However, HEE has said record numbers of GP trainees have been recruited so far, with health bosses expecting to hit their target of 3,250 to start training this year.