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MP suffers backlash after asking ‘how GPs can’ work part time

Esther McVey

An MP has received over 4,000 replies to a tweet asking ‘how can it be’ that some GPs are working part time when some patients ‘struggle to get through’ to their doctors.

Esther McVey, the MP for Tatton and a GB News presenter, said ‘nearly one fifth of GPs work on average 26 hours a week as 50% of all patients struggle to get through to their family doctor’.

However, she received a huge backlash from GPs on Twitter.

Some pointed out to the former housing and work and pensions secretary that one fifth is a small proportion of the workforce.

Others that ‘part-time’ GPs may in fact be working 50-hour weeks.

Others told the MP what they do in the time when they are not seeing patients.

And others wondered why, ‘if being a GP is such a doddle’, the NHS cannot retain them.

Recent workforce projections from the Health Foundation predict the GP shortfall will increase from 4,200 FTE in 2021/22 to 6,700 FTE by 2023/24, and 8,800 FTE by 2030/31, based on current policy.

Meanwhile, a number of Pulse readers shared their experience of full-time working following our editorial last week. Read their letters here.

READERS' COMMENTS [8]

Kevlar Cardie 1 August, 2022 5:05 pm

A Tory Twitter stunt from one of demonstrable cupidity.

David jenkins 1 August, 2022 10:32 pm

letter i recently sent to the torygraph:

Sir,
Your article on the worsening shortage of both hospital doctors and GPs cannot be allowed to pass without comment. A major factor in both groups electing to reduce their working hours is the punitive way they are likely to be taxed on their pensions if they pay too much into their pension pots.
It has been suggested many times that the government could easily rectify this anomaly, as they have already done in the case of the judiciary. However, a letter from an unnamed treasury source dated 4/7/2022, reference TO2022/10940, says in response to this, that “The Government is not minded to replicate this scheme at present”.
They cannot, therefore, pretend to be surprised when hospital doctors and GPs alike are “not minded” to work longer hours, which would cause them to fall foul of the rules the government themselves have put in place !

But, as Boris Johnson himself said “Thems the breaks”

………….it won’t surprise anyone that it wasn’t printed !!!

Simon Gilbert 2 August, 2022 9:51 am

If our ‘part-time’ staff wish to increase their hours where shall I send the invoice for increased practice funding?

Part timers get part time pay!

#Maths

Turn out The Lights 2 August, 2022 10:03 am

Maths is not Esters strong point it seems.

Long Gone 2 August, 2022 2:09 pm

This has got to rank up there with “Shock, horror! Half of GPs are below average!”
Unbelievable. Unless you’ve worked in the NHS for 40 years, that is.
Try reading Why we get the wrong politicians by Isobel Hardman. Great book.

David Church 2 August, 2022 8:06 pm

There is definitely a maths problem – she’ll be Head of the Treasury next!
if 20% of GPs are on 26 hour contracts, that is not one fifth doing part-time, it is one-fifth doing full-time, because full-time is formally accounted as 26 hours a week; Maximum part-time is 19 hours, and half-time is 13 hours a week. But GP hours are more than twice as long as a standard hour, and appear to be more than 50 times an MP hour!
Only 20% doing 26 hours, means that FOUR-fifths of GPs are only working ‘part-time’ but probably still putting in over 50 standard hours per week, and not including CPD time, etc.

Fedup GP 3 August, 2022 11:18 am

….says the MP who manages to hold down at least 2 part time jobs……(and do neither of them particularly well).

Michael Mullineux 3 August, 2022 12:59 pm

”When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”

With apologies to AA Milne