Partners have more patient contacts than other GPs, are scheduled to provide more clinical care – and end up working more longer hours, Pulse’s major GP workload survey has found.
However, salaried GPs are more likely to provide clinical care beyond their scheduled hours, according to the results of the survey of almost 1,700 GPs.
GP leaders said partners were ‘caught up in having to keep the whole machine going’ and warned general practice would not survive unless partnerships were made more attractive.
The survey showed GP partners dealt with an average of 41 patients on the day of the survey, Monday 11 February – while salaried GPs had 36, locums had 30 and registrars dealt with 26.
In addition, 23.4% of partners were scheduled to carry out 10 or more hours of clinical work – but 30.9% ended up working these longer hours.
Among salaried GPs, only 11.4% were contracted to work at least 10 hours clinically – but in reality 27.5% completed these hours.
GP burnout expert Dr Clare Gerada, also former RCGP chair, said the workload for GP partners, in particular, is ‘unsustainable’.
She said: ‘If we lose the partnerships, we’ve lost general practice. Partners are essentially caught up in having to keep the whole machine going and nobody’s helping.
‘Unless there’s a way in improving the beneﬁts of being a partner, then what we’ll ﬁnd is more and more partners will burn out.’
The recent Government-commissioned review of partnerships found GP workload was ‘verging on unmanageable’ and in some regions of the country may be putting patients at risk.
The full findings from the review, published earlier this year, recommended measures including increasing the number of GPs and size of the wider general practice workforce, as well as setting up new primary care networks to share workload.
Pulse’s survey findings are based on responses from 1,681 GPs about their day spent in practice on Monday 11 February.
The results showed more than half of GPs say they are working above safe limits, on average completing 11-hour days and dealing with a third more patients than they believe they should be seeing.