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GP confesses working ‘hours stink’ while promoting job vacancy

A Welsh GP has admitted the working hours at his surgery ‘stink’ while promoting a job vacancy on Twitter. 

Earlier this month, Dr Dave Wilson – a GP partner at Argyle Medical Group in Pembrokeshire, Wales – tweeted a job advert for his surgery, in which he admitted being ‘heavily undermanned and the hours stink’ in light of the increasing workforce shortages in Wales.

Commenting on his tweet, Dr Wilson said: ‘I’m not prolific [on] Twitter but I think I tweeted this because I had finished work late, sat there left with the cleaners and thought “I want to get out of the office because I’ve been here till late, it stinks a little bit, I’m meant to be part time and I’m doing a full-time job”.’

Although Argyle Medical Group serves a population of 22,500, it has only nine GPs at the moment who work out at about seven and a half FTE. This compares to 14 a few years ago, Dr Wilson explained.

‘Staff numbers have dwindled over the last few year[s] as people have retired and left for life reasons,’ he said.

‘When I started, there were about 13 or 14 GPs and it worked well then, everything seemed ok. People left and work got harder. But I know it’s the same for the rest of the UK, it’s not unique to ours.’

Dr Wilson also argued it has been difficult to rely on locums in his area because of its geographical location. 

He said: ‘We’re isolated geographically and there aren’t available locums you can call upon. When everyone is in the surgery it’s fine but when you have people off sick or unexpected absences shit happens and that’s when the pressures start to kick in.

‘It never used to be 8am until late but that’s what happens when numbers dwindle, you’re picking up the extra work, the extra forms and the extra from everyone else because that’s what GPs often do.’

BMA GP Committee Wales Deputy Chair Dr Peter Horvath-Howard said: ‘This is by no means an isolated case. General practice in Wales remains under intense pressure and as a result, we’re increasingly hearing of practices being unable to recruit.

‘BMA Cymru Wales has repeatedly warned of the growing gap between the demand placed upon general practice and its capacity. Years of underinvestment in GMS, along with rising workload means that GPs in Wales are increasingly being asked to do more with less.’

The BMA recently warned that out-of-hours services in Wales were at ‘crisis point’ due to GP shortages.