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GP indemnity hikes could force me out of the job I love

It’s been a privilege to work as a GP for the past two years. After medical school, foundation training, followed by a year in core surgical training, before finally seeing the light and moving into GP training, I have finally settled into my role as a partner in a busy GP surgery in the East Midlands.

I work eight sessions in general practice, with one session as a specialty doctor in a local NHS trust. I have loved getting to know my own patients and offering continuity of care, supported by fantastic team mates and colleagues, at a practice within short commuting distance from home.

So what’s the issue? Well there is just this one thing… the ‘I’ word. Not some trendy word processing software from Apple but Indemnity.

At first I thought it was just part of the job and I would effectively see the money back as part of tax savings. However with year-on-year rises of several thousand pounds (this year alone my indemnity has risen by £2,000, despite not even a phone call to the medical defence company) I am staring at annual pay cuts to my take-home pay, with the discount rate yet to come.

I am aware I’m in a privileged position – I am well paid compared with the national average and able to put food on the table each week, so I have some sympathy with those who feel we shouldn’t complain.

But I am becoming increasingly despondent with a job that requires more and more of me when I am effectively getting paid less and less to do it. I am taking on ever more locum work on my afternoon off to maintain the same income for my family. This means less time with them.

With the discount rate due to hit our subscriptions this coming year, it may be the last straw for some of us, myself included. I am considering gaining further higher specialist training in Sports medicine to allow me to have dual accreditation, as I feel full-time GP alone is no longer sustainable both workload wise and financially.

I would hate to leave this job that I love and hope it doesn’t come to it, having trained so hard to get to where I am now. But with a wife and two children under the age of three, I have to think of the whole family’s future first.

Dr Ralph Mitchell is a GP partner in Leicestershire