1000 GPs quit the NHS in the past year

Recent reports confirm that the NHS has lost the equivalent of 1,000 full-time GPs in the past year as workload pressures and funding shortfalls increasingly demoralise doctors.

The figures – which undermine a pledge from Jeremy Hunt to recruit an extra 5,000 GPs by 2020 – have been described as ‘gravely concerning’ by the BMA, who warn that the shortage will lead to increasing difficulties in accessing GPs at surgeries already struggling to cope with over-subscribed patient lists.

While there are around 41,324 doctors working in general practice, 500 fewer than two years ago, the relentless pressures of the job mean they are increasingly working less than the NHS definition of “full-time”, opting instead for well reimbursed freelance work.

Will the extra money allocated to the NHS in Philip Hammond’s budget resolve the problem, if not what is the solution? Do add your own comments to this blog.    

Comments (4) Add yours ↓
  1. Declan Cahill Consultant Urologist

    This doesn’t surprise me at all.
    The pressure on GPS is immense. The increasing demands of patients and government is creating significantly elevated workloads.
    There are less partners as doctors opt for salaried posts rather than partnerships. This is to reduce pressure and responsibility at the expense of pay. This of course increases pressures on the remaining partners.
    Locum posts are poorly remunerated and unattractive.
    GPs are unfairly seen as the cause of so many NHS problems. This is usually untrue.
    Patients are constantly complaining of lack of GP appointments. Government invariably looking to GPs for their solutions.
    I’d consider walking but I don’t know what I’d do. There aren’t that many options.
    I think the Royal College of GPs needs to define what’s fair for all and push for it.

    November 23, 2017 Reply
  2. Christian Brown Consultant Urologist

    This is a worrying trend. Medicine has changed in the UK. There are curently over 500 consultant vacancies in the UK that can’t be filled, although not substantiated I have also heard that the average number of interviewees in our speciality urology for consultant posts is 1. There are significant numbers of consultant urologist post vacant in the UK.

    Doctors (and nurses) leaving the NHS to work privately or abroad, or sadly give up will lead to a reduction in quality as organisations will fill posts with locums or bank staff, or inexperienced and under qualified staff. Recently to fill rota gaps in one of the hospitals I work in we used general surgery research staff to do the urology middle grade on call – a compromise and it worked but I was not happy about it.

    Delivering high quality care in the NHS is all about the staff and this is a worrying trend. Being a GP is tough and seems to be getting tougher, we are dedicated to look after our patients but we need a safe and viable platform to do it and I’m not sure it’s going to get any better soon.

    November 24, 2017 Reply
  3. Benchallacombe Consultant

    Worrying comments guys. From a practical point of view as a hospital consultant we need to try and take the pressure away from the GPs. We can do this by better educating and empowering our patients about their diseases. eg working with primary care on follow up Apps for prostate cancer, running educational seminars on urological cancers/diseases for those effected (bladder renal bph) and discharge classes so patients don’t feel cut adrift when they are discharged.
    Just saying “pop into your GP next week is no longer good enough”

    November 28, 2017 Reply
  4. Mike Kirby Professor

    Yes, this is true, at all the GP meetings I go to all over the UK, the story is the same.
    Can’t get locums & can’t get replacement partners.
    Time pressure
    Change in workload
    box ticking
    pay freeze
    pressure of running a small business in tandem
    lack of job satisfaction
    A lot to put right!!!!

    December 7, 2017 Reply

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