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A third of GPs have reduced their hours over the past year, says GMC

Around 30% of GPs have reduced their hours in the past 12 months, according to a new report by the GMC.

A survey of 3,500 doctors across the UK showed that in the year leading up to summer 2019 a third of GP respondents and a fifth of doctors overall had reduced their hours.

In the report, called The state of medical education and practice in the UK: The workforce report, the GMC warned the trend among GPs is ‘especially concerning’ in light of workforce plans focusing on primary care.

Half of all GPs taking part in the survey also said they work beyond their rostered hours at least weekly and feel they cannot cope on a weekly basis.

The report also revealed a third of all doctors intend to reduce their hours in clinical practice within the next year, and 10% intend to take a break from practising medicine over the next year. 

The report said: ‘Declining hours among GPs is especially concerning, given the emphasis on primary care in all workforce strategies.’

The report also showed that the number of GPs has grown by 6%, which is less than half the growth in specialists (14%).

Charlie Massey, GMC chief executive, said: ‘Doctors are in short supply and so demand is high worldwide.

‘Compassionate leadership and improved workplace cultures can contribute to improved retention of doctors. That also helps doctors’ wellbeing, which in turn benefits patients. It will help make sure we have the workforce we need now and in the years ahead.’

Responding to the report, BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘As highlighted in the report, GPs and hospital doctors continue to face immense pressures on a day-to-day basis due to demand exceeding capacity and is likely to worsen as a result of other factors such as punitive pension taxation rules, which means doctors are being forced to leave the profession early or cut their hours.

‘The Government must address these constraints in order to improve both recruitment and retention.’