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    Monday, 02 July 2018 16:45
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  • England will lose more than 600 general practices by 2022, predicts BMA

    England will lose more than 600 general practices by 2022, predicts BMA

    Tuesday, 12 June 2018 12:03

a doctors bag imageJune 1 2018

The number of GPs who say they are likely to quit direct patient care within five years rose to 39% in 2017. This is an increase from 35% in 2015 and is an all-time high as recorded by the National GP Worklife Survey.

The survey, conducted by University of Manchester researchers on behalf of the Policy Research Unit in Commissioning and the Healthcare System (PRUComm), also found that: 

  • 62% of GPs over 50 said they are likely to quit direct patient care within five years, up from 61% in 2015 – the majority said it was highly likely (47%) or considerably likely (15%);
  • 13% of GPs under 50 said there was a considerable or high likelihood of leaving direct patient care within five years and 45% reported that there was no likelihood;
  • more than nine out of 10 GPs reported experiencing considerable or high pressure from ‘increasing workloads’.

The National GP Worklife Survey is a national survey of GPs in England, which has been carried out nine times since 1999. It analyses data from two samples in 2017: 996 GPs responded to a random sample of 4,000 people and 1,199 responded (out of 22,280) after being followed up after responding to the 2015 survey.

Professor Kath Checkland, who led the study said: “Although the declines in satisfaction seen between previous years has stopped, low satisfaction and high pressures have been sustained.

“The all-time high figure of 39% of GPs who say they intend to quit within five years is particularly worrying in terms of the possible implications it might have on recruitment, retention and patient care.”

Commenting on the survey, Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee chair, said: “While these figures are concerning, they are certainly not surprising, and provide yet further evidence of the scale of the acute workforce crisis in general practice.

“In the face of rising patient demand and increasing administrative burden, GP workload has reached a point where doctors feel they cannot provide safe, high-quality care. As noted in this report, doctors feel they can no longer ‘do the job justice’. 

“It is imperative that practices must be able to set safe working limits both to ensure the best outcomes for their patients and to protect GPs’ own physical and mental health. The stress and pressure that excessive workloads and oppressive regulation are having on GPs is clear, with more than 1,000 doctors needing help from the NHS’s own GP Health Service in its first year of operation.”

RCGP Chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard added: “It’s incredibly worrying to hear that so many GPs are thinking about leaving the profession within the next five years, but it certainly isn’t surprising, given the intense pressures family doctors are facing – something about which the College has long been raising concerns.

“As this study shows, 20% of GPs are now working intensively for more than 60 hours a week. We’re trying to do more and more on less and less, and there is a limit beyond which we can no longer guarantee that we are practising safely.”

Links:
PRUComm announcement        
PRUComm ‘Ninth National GP Worklife Survey 2017’     
BMA comment             
RCGP comment            

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