Government must take action to prevent mass exodus of GPs, BMA says in response to the eleventh GP Worklife Survey

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA

Location: England
Last reviewed: 13 April 2022
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Responding to the results of the GP Worklife Survey for 20211, which assesses job satisfaction and job stressors among GPs in England, Dr Richard Van Mellaerts, BMA England GP committee executive officer, said:

“The fact that 61% of GPs over 50 say they are likely to quit direct patient care within the next five years highlights the extent of the staffing crisis facing general practice. If these intentions come to fruition, this will represent a huge loss to the NHS and to patients of highly skilled and experienced GPs.

“GPs and their teams are exhausted from the pandemic, struggling with a toxic combination of escalating patient demand at the same time as the number of fully qualified, full-time GPs has fallen significantly. The number of GPs in England has fallen every year since the Government first pledged to increase the GP workforce by 5,000 and this survey shows that more could be set to leave if the Government does not take action.

The survey also demonstrates that the very notion of a ‘part-time’ GP is often anything but. The average hours worked by a GP in England is around 38.4 hours per week – similar to most full-time jobs.

“The Government must now come forward and work with the profession to fix the problems which are leading doctors to leave the NHS. Without doing so, we face a mass exodus of GPs, which will put patient care in serious jeopardy, all at a time when we need our health service more than ever before.”

Notes to editors

The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

  1. The GP Worklife Survey has been assessing job satisfaction and job stressors amongst GPs in England since 1999. The survey was run for the eleventh time in 2021. It reported on responses from 2,227 GPs from across the country. The survey found that around 33% of GPs are likely to quit direct patient care within five years. In GPs over 50 the figure was 61%; among GPs under 50, one in every six (16%) said they were planning to leave. Overall, hours of work showed a slight decline for the second consecutive survey, falling from 40 hours per week in 2019 to 38.4 hours per week in 2021.