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Four in ten GPs would actively discourage family friends from entering general practice



Only four in ten GPs would advise budding GPs to pursue an interest in a career in general practice, while the same amount would actively discourage it, Pulse can reveal.

A Pulse survey of 526 GPs found that 42% would advise son or daughters of family friends to drop an interest in a career, revealing the full extent of the low morale in the professions.

Many respondents to the Pulse survey cited the long hours, lack of work life balance and overwhelming amount of paper work and administration as reasons to avoid training as a GP.

These findings follow a major BMA survey that revealed that six in ten GPs are considering early retirement and more than half say their morale is either ‘low’ or ‘very low’, while new research by the RCGP revealed that general practice faces a £1.59bn real terms funding cut by 2017 despite predicted patient consultations due to increase by 69 million if current trends continue.

Dr Sanjeev Juneja a GP partner based in Kent said:  ‘I open my practice at 7am in the morning at least four days a week although I am paid for one and a half hours per week for extended opening.’

‘I get up and work from home from 3-4am every morning and on Saturdays and Sundays mow the lawns in the surgery and go through my paperwork.’

‘Would I still advise somebody to become a GP? Well, I would deter anybody from becoming even a doctor…this is the only profession where you are held accountable for everything even the lack of a smile.’

Dr Stuart Buchanan a locum GP covering Scotland and Northern Ireland said he was emigrating to work as a GP in Australia next month and would advise others to do the same.

‘The Government and the general public look down on GPs thanks to the picture that is presented in the Daily Mail, I think you would be better off becoming a bus driver than becoming a GP.’

‘All my colleagues, especially the young ones, are just getting out because general practice in the UK is just in a mess,’ he said.

Dr James LaBouchardiere a salaried GP said: ‘It’s bloody hard work but I still enjoy it and get a lot of satisfaction from it.’

Dr Malcolm Artley a GP partner based in Dulwich, South London, agreed: ‘It’s a rewarding career and interesting job-far better than most other jobs-despite the changes.’

The BMA survey of 420 respondents, launched last week, revealed that six in ten GPs are considering early retirement and more than half say their morale is either ‘low’ or ‘very low’, while almost half the respondents having already made changes or planning to make changes to their work life balance.  

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said he would use the ‘shocking’ results to lobby ministers on the impact of the ongoing drive to keep patients out of hospital, and highlight how funding cuts are threatening to overwhelm general practice.

A separate RCGP poll of patients showed almost two-thirds of respondents believe the sheer volume of consultations taking place are a threat to patient care. RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said last month that general practice is in real danger of ‘extinction’.

Survey results

If you were approached by the son or daughter of a family friend asking for your advice on a career in a general practice, would you advise them to pursue their interest in being a GP?

Yes – 215 (40.87%)

No – 222 (42.21%)

Don’t know – 89 (16.92%)