Exclusive One in three GPs would not choose general practice if they were starting a medical career again.
Sky-rocketing indemnity fees and the ongoing recruitment crisis in general practice were two of the main areas highlighted by GPs surveyed by Pulse, who said that they would not choose the profession if they could rewind the clock.
In all, 1,170 GPs responded to Pulse’s question whether they would go into general practice again with the benefit of hindsight. Of these, 32% percent said that they would not.
A GP in Medway commented: ‘Knowing what I know now, probably not, but having aged with the system I can’t imagine doing anything else.
‘I am sad we cannot provide the service we should. I am sad I think it’s all going to collapse.’
A GP in West Kent said that indemnity fees were rising to the point that some GPs might have to pay to work: ‘General practice is a very dangerous occupation that could lead to significant harm to oneself and one’s family. Litigation can ruin people’s careers as indemnity providers are cherry picking cases to defend.
‘Younger generations of doctors have paid extortionate tuition fees and ridiculously high costs in examinations all out of our own pockets. Now our potential pension has been raided and retirement has been pushed to a later age.’
Half of the GPs surveyed said that they would still choose to go into general practice, although many said they would think twice about a career in medicine in the first place.
Some GPs said that they were happier than some of their specialist colleagues and still valued the variety and patient contact that general practice offered.
But they added that they wished they could just be left alone to do their job, rather than chasing targets set by politicians.
An East London-based GP said: ‘There is nothing wrong with the job of GP – the problem is too much work and not enough resources.’
A GP in Hertfordshire said: ‘I enjoy my job – just not the unrealistic expectations of politicians and their refusal to restrict patient expectations.’
The news comes as the Pulse survey also revealed that one in four GPs work beyond safe working hours every week.
Survey question in full
If you could rewind back to your medical student days, would you still become a GP?
Yes – 50%
No – 32%
Don’t know – 18%
The survey was launched on 9 November 2016, collating responses using the SurveyMonkey tool. The 29 questions covered a wide range of GP topics, to avoid selection bias on one issue. A total of 1,170 GPs answered the question above.