17 August 2018

Flexible Working Helps GP Workforce, Says RCGP

Responding to a survey of GP trainees' career plans, published today by the King's Fund, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "We have a record number of doctors in GP training and the moment, and that is brilliant – they are the future of the profession, and are already making a vital contribution to patient care.

"It's not a surprise to see that more GP trainees are planning to either work part-time, or opt for portfolio careers – meaning that they undertake work in other areas of healthcare, as well as clinical work. The intense resource and workforce pressures facing general practice at the moment, mean that full-time working as a GP is often regarded as untenable.

"GPs and our teams make the vast majority of NHS patient contacts and workload in general practice is escalating, both in terms of volume and complexity. Yet, the share of the NHS budget our profession receives is less than it was a decade ago, and GP numbers are falling.

"Working under these conditions is simply not acceptable for our trainees, or existing GPs trying to guide and nurture those new to the profession – and it isn't safe for our patients.

"It would be misguided and unhelpful for people to criticise the decision of GP trainees not to work full time, and suggest that this is contributing to workforce pressures – it is actually the flexibility that a career in general practice offers that makes it a sustainable career choice.

"Being a GP can be the best job in the world but only if general practice is properly resourced and we're given the tools to make over a million patient consultations across the country safely and effectively.

"We urgently need to see existing promises of investment for general practice, 5,000 more GPs, and 5,000 more members of the wider practice team delivered in full – but the RCGP is also calling for an additional £2.5bn a year, as part of the upcoming long-term plan for the NHS, to ensure that GPs and their teams are given the support and resources they need to deliver high-quality patient care both now and in the future."

Further Information
RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633/7410
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.