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  • Over 2,000 patients removed with immediate effect from GP practices in 2017

    Over 2,000 patients removed with immediate effect from GP practices in 2017

    Wednesday, 23 May 2018 14:17
  • New GP workforce figures ‘yet another hammer blow’

    New GP workforce figures ‘yet another hammer blow’

    Thursday, 17 May 2018 15:31
  • BMA, RCP respond to reports of PM blocking relaxation of tier 2 visa cap for doctors

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    Wednesday, 09 May 2018 16:07
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  • ‘e-Traffic light’ GP referral system indicates expected time to hospital appointment

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A Resized GP Image cbNovember 6 2017

Reducing bureaucracy and offering reduced workloads, especially in respect to emergency commitments, could help stave off retirement for doctors, a BMJ Open study has concluded.

Responses from 3,695 doctors (including 1,206 GPs) who had graduated between 1974 and 1977 found that 55% were still working in medicine. Of the retirees, 67% said they had retired when they had originally planned to, and 28% had changed their retirement plans.

Giving reasons for retirement, half cited ‘increased time for leisure/other interests’ but 43% cited ‘pressure of work’. The study found that “GPs were more likely than doctors in other specialties to cite ‘pressure of work’.” GPs, along with anaesthetists, were also more likely than other doctors to cite the ‘possibility of deteriorating skill/competence’ as a reason for retiring.

When asked what would encourage doctors to stay working longer, rather than retire, the most frequently cited response was ‘reduced impact of work-related bureaucracy’ (45.4%), followed by ‘workload reduction/shorter hours’ (42.2%).

The researchers from the University of Oxford also noted: “More women than men retired because of the retirement of a spouse or partner: this difference was pronounced in general practice and was less pronounced in specialties such as surgery. More women than men retired due to family reasons (especially among GPs and hospital medical specialists).

“Thus, not only are female doctors influenced much more than men by family factors in their career decisions when they are young, but the male-female differences, in respect of family and career decisions, persist with age into their 60s. More men GPs than women GPs retired for financial reasons, citing ‘financial security/insufficient financial incentive to stay’.”

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, RCGP Chair, said: “What we are seeing now is the result of a decade of underinvestment in our family doctor service. Our workload has increased by 16% over the past seven years, our ageing population means people are living longer but with complex and multiple conditions, yet the number of GPs has remained largely stagnant.

“NHS England’s GP Forward View promises an extra £2.4 billion per year for general practice, 5,000 extra GPs, and 5,000 extra members of the practice team by 2021. If this is delivered in full it will go a long way towards building a healthier workforce, which is good news for GPs and our patients. We need similar commitments in the devolved nations too.”

Links:
BMJ announcement        
F Smith et al. ‘Factors influencing the decisions of senior UK doctors to retire or remain in medicine: national surveys of the UK-trained medical graduates of 1974 and 1977’. BMJ Open 2017; 7: e017650.   
RCGP comment              

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