31 May 2018

GPs Leaving Profession at 'Incredibly Worrying' Rates Says College

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to a survey by the University of Manchester, which found that the number of GPs who say they are likely to quit direct patient care within five years rose to 39% in 2017 from 35% in 2015.

She said: "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.

"Pressures in general practice have reached an all-time high; our workload has escalated by at least 16% over the last seven years, but the share of the NHS budget general practice receives is less than it was a decade ago, GP numbers are actually falling, and many hard-working GPs are simply burnt-out and exhausted.

"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.

"While recruiting more doctors is an obvious solution – and we've certainly seen a welcome increase in the number of trainees entering general practice – more work is needed to retain existing GPs, who are as valuable to trainees as they are to their patients, in the profession and the key to this is to tackle workload in general practice.

"Being a GP can be the best job in the world, but only when it's properly resourced. That's why we need to see NHS England's GP Forward View, which pledges £2.4bn extra a year for general practice as well as 5,000 more GPs and 5,000 members of the wider practice team, delivered, in full, as a matter of urgency."

Further Information
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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.