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GPs’ letter to patients explains how Government drove them to early retirement

A married GP couple have sent a letter to patients explaining how Government-led ‘vilification’ of general practice has driven them to retire early.

Doctors John Glasspool and Jill Graham – who have run the Victor Street surgery in Southampton, Hampshire for almost 30 years – said that in the last eight years changes by successive governments have made their job ‘more and more difficult’ as funding is cut and the burden of administration and inspection increases.

They have written to patients explaining that, as general practices’ proportion of NHS funding continues to shrink, they would soon be in a position where their standards of work would be compromised and wished to leave before this happened.

The letter states: ‘In many ways we shall be sorry to go since over time, many of you have become like our chums and we shall miss you greatly.’

‘Sadly, over the last eight years or so, governments of both parties seem to have had it in for general practice and have been making the job more and more difficult, demanding “more for less”, and increasing the burden of administration and inspection.’

Adding: ‘This cannot go on for ever, and we both feel that we would shortly be in the position of not being able to do our work to the standards we would like.’

‘You may have noticed that there has been a campaign of vilification against GPs in some sections of the press for some time now. It is so persistent that we can only assume it comes from Government. Under the circumstances, a lot of GPs in their fifties are doing the same as us.’

Speaking to Pulse, Dr Glasspool said: ‘I suppose you could say that we feel, part of it is, someone has to make a stand. GPs are very good at whinging, but not very good at taking action. We thought we can go now, while we’re still hopefully in good health.’

‘The patients are sorry to hear us going but there you. I tell them the same story, it’s not you lot, it’s the government. The patients are great.’

‘There’s almost no chance of coming back as a salaried GP, because of the requirements of revalidation – we’ll probably be lost to the profession forever once we go. That’s why I want to be a bus driver, they don’t have to revalidate.’

A recent BMA survey found that their feelings were echoed throughout the profession, with six in every ten GPs considering early retirement and more than half describing their morale as ‘low’ or ‘very low’ – a similar number described their workload as ‘unmanageable’ or ‘unsustainable’.