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GP salaried roles receive ‘over 40 applications’ amid employment crisis

GP salaried roles receive ‘over 40 applications’ amid employment crisis

Increased competition for salaried GP roles has left GPs struggling to find work, with job adverts regularly inundated with responses.

GPs told Pulse that recent adverts for a three-session post received 30 applications, and there were reports of ‘low paid bog standard salaried jobs’ attracting over 40 applicants.

This comes after the BMA’s GP Committee England chair warned that general practice has suddenly gone from a recruitment to an employment crisis, driven by the Government’s squeeze of practice finances, and locum GPs are having to drive across England and stay in hotels overnight in order to secure work.

In a post on X, Manchester GP Dr Paul Jepson said: ‘I found out today that I didn’t make the interview stage for a relatively low paid bog standard salaried job. 40 plus applicants apparently.’

In Wilmslow, GP partner Dr Amar Ahmed told Pulse there is ‘huge competition for roles’ with his practice receiving ’30 applicants for a three-session post just a few months ago’ and getting ‘cold calls’ from GPs who are ‘desperate for a job’.

He said this is a big shift from two or three years ago, when ‘sometimes you wouldn’t even get any suitable applicants at all’.

Dr Amar added there is ‘a lot of angst out there’, and medical students and trainees are ‘really worried’ about being unemployable once they qualify.

‘A lot of GP trainees are considering emigrating. Medical students doing their United States Medical Licensing Examination soon after, or planning doing it the same time as doing their finals – I’ve come across two cases of that. People who are already qualified just saying it’s the last straw for some of them, they have to go elsewhere now.’

Bolton GP partner Dr Helen Wall also suggested the GP job market has significantly changed over the last few years, and problems with access are ‘no longer due to GP shortage’.

‘Less than three years ago we advertised for a salaried GP, in a good training practice, decent salary. We had zero applicants, twice over. We now get weekly contacts from GPs asking if we have any work going. We don’t,’ she said.

In Lancashire, only two or three practices are advertising at any one time, while there used to be at least 75% of practices advertising for a GP role in previous years, according to the local LMC.

Lancashire and Cumbria LMCs chief executive Dr Adam Janjua said he has heard ‘real concerns’ from GP trainees about the state of the job market once they qualify in the summer, and warned of ‘a lot of throughput’ but ‘literally no jobs’ for them.

He told Pulse that there are ‘very, very few jobs’ available and the outlook is ‘looking really dire’ for some trainees. 

He added: ‘There aren’t as many jobs as there used to be. Anecdotally, where I work on the Fylde Coast, at any one time there used to be at least 75% of practices advertising for a GP role.

‘Now, of that cohort of 45 practices, we’re faced with maybe two or three practices looking for a GP.’

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‘I have heard of one trainee trying not to pass because of the fact they won’t then have a job. They wouldn’t necessarily be heartbroken if they failed and had to do an extension because that means they have at least another six months of income coming in,’ he added.

Dr Janjua said qualified GPs in his area – particularly those who are younger and newly qualified – are struggling to find work, and he put this down to practices being ‘hamstrung’ by ‘financial constraints’. 

He cited the minimum wage increase, ICBs ‘tightening their belts’ and low contract uplifts – ‘all of these things are conspiring to create cash flow problems for practices’. 

‘Sadly, it’s going to be the GP workforce which is seen as a luxury at the moment. I’m sure lots of people are hiring nurse practitioners and physician associates and pharmacists to see patients rather than hiring a GP, because they are a slightly cheaper commodity.’ 

Chair of the BMA’s sessional GP Committee Dr Mark Steggles told Pulse this ‘crisis is of the Government’s making’, and called for the ARRS funding to include GPs. 

He said: ‘We know that many locum GPs are struggling to find employment and are considering taking up salaried positions. As a result – we’re now seeing that recruitment for salaried positions is more competitive than recent years and unless the Government intervenes, then the GP crisis will only intensify. 

‘It’s worth noting, however, that, like locum opportunities, salaried positions are also increasingly hard to find due to inadequate funding in general practice; many surgeries simply cannot afford to hire the GPs they need.’

Last month, Dr Steggles wrote to NHS England’s primary care director Dr Amanda Doyle to highlight the issue of sessional GP unemployment and to call for solutions, such as expanding the ARRS to include GPs. 

He cited ‘increasing accounts’ from members struggling to find work, a reduction in sessions worked per week between 2022 and 2023, and a reduction in the proportion of appointments delivered by GPs.

Dr Steggles said: ‘We believe that this adds to the growing evidence that GPs are effectively being replaced by fully funded ARRS roles as pressure on practices to cut costs increases due to years of inadequate investment, real-term cuts to general practice contract funding and the financial incentivisation of the ARRS roles expansion.

‘We are concerned about the patient safety implications of these emerging and accelerating trends and unconvinced of the economic rationale.

‘Our public appeals for the evaluation data of the clinical and economic effectiveness of these ARRS roles have also so far fallen on deaf ears.’ 

Pulse reported in November that there had been a 44% reduction in the number of GP vacancies advertised since the same month in 2022. 

GP leaders responding to Pulse’s survey attributed this reduction in vacancies to a number of factors, including an increase in the ARRS success in hiring staff and a lack of resources and space to house GPs.

And at the start of this year, Pulse revealed that a Surrey GP practice made three salaried GPs redundant due to ‘new ways of working’, including virtual appointments and the use of ARRS staff.


          

READERS' COMMENTS [14]

Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Michael Johnson 2 May, 2024 12:59 pm

This has been the clear intent in the UK for years. Clapped on by the doyens and Quislings in the colleges.
We’ve had nurses, pharmacists, paramedics acting as quasi GP’s, now we have PA’s, who I note recently removed the working under the supervision of a doctor girl their tag line.
I would strongly advise any youngster not to consider GP as a career… Certainly not in the UK.
It seems we can train any monkey to do it…… Only, those of us who actually work attge coalface know that you can’t.
Shame on those within the profession who cheer lead the nonsense of the noctor.
The plan always was to devalue GP in the UK.

SUBHASH BHATT 2 May, 2024 2:14 pm

History repeats . In 1980’d we had same situation. Getting full partnerships might take 3 to 5 years if you are lucky to get interview. These gps are going abroad for sure.

John Graham Munro 2 May, 2024 3:04 pm

Well it really must have taken something NOT to have passed a G.P. training course

Decorum Est 2 May, 2024 3:50 pm

Michael Johnson above has summarised the situation well.

Just Your Average Joe 2 May, 2024 5:36 pm

Situation not helped when core money from QOF being stolen and rebadged and placed into PCNs – where you could previously use it to hire GPs and now can only be used to hire anyone but a GP.

The further funding badged as winter pressure monies – used to hire a GP – will be rediverted to local federation to allow them to hire a extended access GP to provide overflow appointments from primary care – let me spell it out for those who need it – a GP doing a full days work – fulltime – will be lost as their funding will go an hire a doctor doing 3 appointments an hour – and net loss of appointments and continuity of care in the practice – due to bureaucratic funding diversion.

The DOH and powers that be are creating a workforce crisis here, and this needs to stop, with all the PCN and additional money put back into core funding, with a basic practice allowance for every Partner – to strengthen and encourage partner recruitment from the new younger generations. Lose partnership and a much more expensive model of primary care will follow, along with complete loss of continuity of care.

We need all out locum/salaried GP colleagues to feel welcome to roles in practices as the patient workload has not disappeared.

Anonymous 2 May, 2024 7:18 pm

Unemployed from August

Krishna Malladi 2 May, 2024 10:07 pm

GPs being replaced by ARRS roles is exactly what NHSE/HMG wanted to happen. A race to the bottom.

David Church 3 May, 2024 7:54 am

Vacancies in Wales.
Wales is a beautiful country with beautiful culture; more welcoming; ‘abroad’ but not ‘overseas’ (unless you catch the steamer from Devon!), so you can visit family back home more easily.
You can learn the language once you get here, whilst most patients can speak and understand English fairly well – which contrasts significantly with England, where most Government Ministers seem unable to comprehend and use honest plain English with correct word-meanings!
And our government is at least trying to manage it’s restricted budget with some consideration for the needs of the vulnerable, young, elderly, and sick !

David Church 3 May, 2024 7:57 am

‘Cymru am byth’ – usually translated as ‘Wales for ever’, but the associated meanings of the constituent word parts also conveys ideas of togetherness and mutuality for life, enhancement, growth, and progress. Life as in ‘living’, not the opposite of ‘death’.

Liam Topham 3 May, 2024 2:36 pm

I might challenge you a bit there David – not sure how accommodating the Welsh Public Sector is to non-Welsh-speaking staff and clients – and Welsh people who don’t speak Welsh probably get the worst reception of all
But I fully agree that it is a beautiful country

Pezhman Fard 5 May, 2024 12:42 pm

Locum a took advantage and now face the consequences. There are plenty of jobs and the locum needs to accept salaried roles with continuity of care. Enough of locums profiteering. No pity, PAs are a vital part of our workforce. Salaried GPs are earning starting salary of £100-£120k Pa….there should be no pity.

Marilyn Monroe 7 May, 2024 11:47 am

Unemployed from November

Marilyn Monroe 7 May, 2024 12:00 pm

Read Pezhman Fards comments. This is why general practice is f£&k’d. Probably runs a practice which he/she couldn’t get any peers to work in. And its all the fault of his/her peers..who aren’t peers obviously.. There are plenty of idiots running partnerships. I’ve worked for a bunch of them. There are plenty of great ones too, but you guys are getting shafted by the fools. And here they are smugly outing themselves as they cheer on the disintegration of a profession they don’t identify with. I don’t know who these folk DO identify with but its absolutely NOT the vision of UK general practice that the vast majority of the UK population expect/aspire to or want to see.

Anonymous Anonymous 16 May, 2024 2:13 pm

The funny and stupid thing is everyone talks about all sorts of crises and yet nothing happens- ‘if nothing changes, nothing changes’