The biggest-ever survey of salaried and locum GPs by the BMA has shown many are considering deserting the profession due to the pressures being put on them.
Speaking at the LMCs Conference, sessionals lead Dr Zoe Norris revealed a GPC survey of more than 2,000 GPs found that 28% intended to leave the NHS entirely if sessional work ‘was further disincentivised’ and 25% to move overseas. In addition, 17% said they would retire early.
The survey result comes after NHS England suggested that locums were an ‘unacceptable burden on the rest of the NHS’ in a delivery plan published last month. Practices have been told to report if they use GP locums for above £80.01 per hour.
At the time, Dr Norris said she was ‘livid’ and would be seeking a response from the chief executive of NHS England Simon Stevens.
At the conference today, Dr Norris said: ‘If the Government imagine they can push these GPs, that make up the majority of the sessional workforce, to work in a want-over-needs service, or at scale, or in a fully salaried model, to suit the political agenda, they are mistaken.
‘They must be pulling these GPs back by listening to the concerns of partners, and taking the collapse of general practice seriously. Do not push them.’
The survey also revealed that 42% of the salaried and locum workforce used to be partners and that, when asked what their career plans are for the next five years, most sessional doctors felt working as a portfolio GP was the route that would give them the ‘most flexibility and control’.
Dr Norris added: ‘The average age of a salaried GP was 43. The average age of a locum GP was 48. For male locums this rose to 51. These are experienced GPs, who have been driven away from partnership because of the unrealistic demands, and the inadequate funding of the largest part of the NHS.
‘Doctors should have this choice – no one should seek to restrict that or dictate to them. But politicians need to know, for many GPs you are giving them no other choice.’
Dr Norris also revealed new commitments from Capita that would ensure ‘no locum GP will be financially penalised due to Capita’s errors’.
The 10-week deadline for pension contributions has been waived and there will be an ‘amnesty’ on type 2 practitioner forms.
The BMA will also shortly publish a new set of model terms and conditions for locums and practices.