Only a fifth of GPs expect their practice to still exist in 10 years, according to devastating results of a wide-ranging survey of practice staff on the future of general practice.
The poll was initiated locally by a practice manager in Oxford and ended up being cascaded right across England, receiving over 2,700 responses, three-quarters of which were from GPs.
The final results showed only 20% of respondents were confident their practice would exist in 10 years, while a third said the exact opposite.
Almost all the respondents – 97% – agreed their practice was ‘experiencing an ever increasing and unsustainable pressure of work’, while 68% said their referral rate was likely to increase in order to cope with increased demands on general practice.
Worryingly, four-fifths of respondents said they believed one or more GPs in their practice was suffering from ‘burnout’.
Andrew McHugh, medical practice director at the Horsefair Surgery in Banbury, Oxfordshire, said he initially sent out the survey to local practices in April but received such a strong response he then circulated a more extensive list of questions more widely.
Mr McHugh has also analysed some 26,000 words of free text contributed as part of survey responses, with the most common themes ‘unsustainability’, ‘workload’ and ‘gp bashing in the media’.
Mr McHugh told Pulse he hoped the survey would help get politicians to take more notice of the unfolding crisis in general practice.
He said: ‘The whole purpose of producing this was try to get something out there. There is a crisis developing but at the moment I feel that I’m shouting “iceberg” and what I’m hearing from behind is “full steam ahead”.’
Pulse has launched its campaign aimed at preventing practices from closing after an investigation revealed that more than 100 practices were in danger of imminent closure.