The trend of more doctors leaving the NHS is not ‘rocket science’ since they are working in ‘incredibly stressed environments’, according to the GMC chief executive.
Speaking at the NHS Confed Expo in Manchester today, Charlie Massey outlined the importance of doctors exhibiting compassionate leadership and helping improve NHS culture.
The session focussed on upcoming changes to the GMC’s Good Medical Practice (GMP), due this summer, which will include more explicit mentions of leadership.
Mr Massey said that every doctor has ‘a duty to lead and delivering on that duty is central to delivering first class care’, and will help boost retention and stop increasing numbers of doctors leaving.
He added: ‘Certainly we are worried that there are more doctors at all stages through their careers who are likely to leave.
‘It shouldn’t be rocket science – if people are working in incredibly stressed environments, they are more likely to be looking to work overseas or elsewhere.’
Delegates at the conference raised concerns about clinicians having sufficient time to work on improving leadership and culture, and Mr Massey acknowledged that GPs are one of the groups who are ‘the most burned out’ and ‘the most stressed’.
When one GP delegate cited particular difficulties in general practice, the GMC chief executive said the challenge is far more complicated than simply workforce pressures.
He said: ‘My own observation is the world we inhabit is one where we can quite often get locked in a narrative of heroes and villains around all of these things, which can lead people to almost bury our heads in the sand, put our hands over our ears and say “all we need are 10,000 more GPs, or whatever it may be, and that’s the only solution that’s going to work”.
‘I think sadly, the challenge we face is more complex than that. There is no cavalry of GPs or other doctors that’s going to come over the hill in the immediate term.’
In March, Mr Massey delivered the keynote speech at Pulse Live, saying regulatory hurdles must be lifted to admit a ‘sizeable’ pool of SAS doctors who are ‘itching’ to work in general practice and fully utilise their skills.
In November, the GMC chief warned that the UK must stop ‘haemorrhaging’ GPs, who are ‘voting with their feet’ to go work abroad.
NHS Digital data recently showed that more than one in five GPs aged under 30 quit the profession last year.