GP survey on retirement age underlines need for Government action to stem exodus of family doctors, says BMA

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA

Location: UK
Published: Tuesday 7 June 2022
Press release icon

Responding to a survey of GPs by trade publication Pulse1, which found that half of respondents planned to retire at or before the age of 60, BMA GP committee workforce policy lead Dr Samira Anane said:

"Unfortunately, these results are unsurprising and indicative of the growing pressures currently facing general practice. In fact, BMA analysis has shown that we now have the equivalent of 1,622 fewer fully qualified full time GPs than we did in 2015, despite the average number of patients each GP is responsible for having increased by around 300 – or 16% - since then.

"On top of unprecedented workload leading to burnout, complex and punitive pension taxation rules that can leave senior doctors facing eye-watering and unexpected charges if they stay in work longer mean family doctors are not only exhausted and disenchanted, but also absurdly financially punished for continuing to look after their patients.

"As a result, they are reluctantly voting with their feet by reducing hours or deciding to retire early, and the impact on patients cannot be underestimated.

"Losing these experienced and talented professionals is not only a huge loss to the NHS, but also the communities they serve and the people in them who deserve high-quality, timely care. The Government needs to start taking notice of what surveys like this show, as well as what staff on the frontline have repeatedly been saying about the pressures in the NHS, and take immediate steps to tackle the pensions issues and to address bureaucratic barriers for our international colleagues to stem the exodus of such highly-skilled clinicians.

"If these things aren’t done, we will only lose more doctors, more patients will suffer, and the very functioning of the health service will be in jeopardy."


Notes to editors

  1. For more information, contact Pulse editor Jaimie Kaffash at [email protected] or 0782 55 99 571. The survey findings are embargoed until 00.01 on Tuesday 7 June 2022.

The BMA is a professional association and trade union 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.