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  • Latest general practice workforce figures indicate GP numbers are down 0.6% in last quarter

    Latest general practice workforce figures indicate GP numbers are down 0.6% in last quarter

    Friday, 16 February 2018 18:16
  • NAO highlights NHS England and Capita's roles in handling of NHS clinical correspondence

    NAO highlights NHS England and Capita's roles in handling of NHS clinical correspondence

    Tuesday, 06 February 2018 11:39
  • Study highlights complex reasons around GPs considering leaving practice

    Study highlights complex reasons around GPs considering leaving practice

    Tuesday, 06 February 2018 11:35
  • GPs given additional training time in latest Gold Guide on post-graduate speciality training

    GPs given additional training time in latest Gold Guide on post-graduate speciality training

    Monday, 05 February 2018 11:51
  • Alternative consultation methods may not deliver significant improvements in GP workload

    Alternative consultation methods may not deliver significant improvements in GP workload

    Thursday, 01 February 2018 11:14

a gp career plans at five years copyAugust 22 2017

Only two thirds of doctors who are completing their training to become GPs plan to work in NHS general practice. Of those who do intend to remain in the NHS, most propose working as locums or salaried GPs rather than entering a GP partnership, a new study has found.

 The online survey asked for views from of doctors approaching the end of 3-year GP vocational training in the West Midlands. There were responses from 178 doctors, of whom 169 completed the survey, a 57.2% response rate.

“Just over half (n=111; 62.8%) stated that they expected to be working in 6 months as a salaried, locum or other non-principal NHS GP, reducing slightly (n=100; 56.5%) for 3 years’ time. For 5 years’ time, this dropped to a third (n=60; 33.9%),” said the University of Warwick researchers.

“The expectation of entering a GP partnership grew from 7 (4.0%) at 6 months, to 28 (15.8%) at 3 years and 60 (33.9%) at 5 years. A sizeable proportion of individuals did not describe their future career plans, perhaps expressing ambiguity about career direction.”

The researchers noted the interest of many trainee GPs in developing portfolio careers, meaning they would only be part time NHS GPs. Other expectations included some planning to leave general practice completely, or to work overseas, or take a career break/maternity. “Personal experience of a poor work–life balance as a trainee was associated with intentions and particularly a lower expectation to become a GP partner.”

Commenting on the findings, RCGP Chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: “This research is confirming findings that have emerged elsewhere and is incredibly concerning – for the future of general practice, the wider NHS, and the care we're able to deliver to our patients.

“We really do need all the family doctors we can get - thousands more than we currently have, and of all ‘types’ be they partners, salaried or locum GPs - so the prospect of losing new GPs so early in their careers could be disastrous for the NHS. Unfortunately, these findings are a clear indication that trainees are being put off from a career in general practice because they are seeing first-hand the intense resource and workload pressures GPs and our teams are facing across the country.”

Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee chair agreed that the findings indicate a mounting crisis in general practice. “It is hardly surprising that the next generation of GPs are having doubts about their career in the NHS after a decade of underinvestment that has left many local GP services cash strapped and operating from inadequate facilities. Constant sniping from politicians, who often expect GPs to deliver more on shrinking budgets, has hardly helped the morale of a workforce at breaking point.

“There are already widespread GP shortages in England, with areas like the West Midlands particularly badly affected. A recent BMA survey found that one in three GP practices had vacancies that they had spent a year trying to fill. Without enough GPs, the NHS cannot deliver enough appointments to patients, especially the growing number of older people who require intensive and specialist care in the community.”

Links:
University of Warwick announcement    
J Dale et al. ‘Factors influencing career intentions on completion of general practice vocational training in England: a cross-sectional study’. BMJ Open. Published online August 17 2017.                            
RCGP comment                 
BMA comment  

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