General practitioner Practice manager England Wales

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Survey of GPs in England

Independent contractors - a vital part of the past, present and future of general practice

Read the blog

Richard Vautrey

During October and early November this year, we asked you to complete a survey, one which was was much more focused than in previous years.

Only GPs in England were asked to complete this survey, which covered the following key areas:

The results from this survey have been published in phases.

See the full results

 

GP contract update

Along with policy from the 2016 LMC conference, your responses to this survey formed the basis of GPC England's contract negotiations with NHS Employers. GPC England has overwhelmingly voted to accept the negotiated contract changes for 2017/18.

Read more about the new GP contract

The survey tells us that currently most GPs are overburdened with workload, most surgeries find it difficult to recruit staff, and salaried and locum GPs are put off becoming a partner because of a workload without limits.

There are a number of measures that could be put in place in order to aid practices to reduce their workload, and again most are supported to some degree; the most highly supported options being for increased patient self-care/management and increased skills mix in the practice and in the community.

Many would support different uses of funding to assist with workload management (not simply providing it directly to the practice via the global sum). There is no widespread call for any one option, nor is there one solution to fit all. All options should be (and are) available to practices to decide how they can best manage their workload.

Moving forward, we need to make use of the resources available in a variety of ways, in order to reduce workload, increase recruitment and to make general practice sustainable.

 

Key results - working at scale

"These results demonstrate a very strong desire from GPs to work collaboratively in a range of flexible settings."

Read the press release

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA GP committee chair

  • 47% say that the current independent contractor model of individual practices should be the prime model for general practice (Q19)
  • Reducing bureaucracy of managing a practice was seen to be the biggest benefit of working in a collaborative GP alliance, with the next top 3 reasons being it would help reduce workload, is a sustainable way of providing extended access and provides greater security and sustainability (Q20)

 

Video

Get an overview of all the key findings from this major survey of GPs.

 

Infographic

See the key benefits of GPs working collaboratively in our infographic.

20160990 GP survey infographic

 

Preferred model of general practice - breakdown

We asked GPs what would be the most preferred model of general practice to be developed for the future.

Our survey of more than 5000 GPs across England showed 47% believe the current independent contractor model of practices should be the prime model while seeing the benefits of working in a collaborative GP alliance.

See the detail below.

Q19a. What model of general practice would you like to see developed for the future? Please select your top three options.
Current independent contractor model should be supported and given resources to collaborate in the form of GP federations or networks 50%
Current independent contractor model of individual practices should be the prime model of general practices and should be supported and invested in 47%
Practices should form collaborative alliances with multi-professional healthcare staff to manage increasing care out of hours, such as MCPs 32%
Current independent contractor practices should join to form legal alliances, such as super partnerships with sharing of clinical, management, HR and regulatory responsibilities 27%
The current independent contractor model of individual practices is too onerous and vulnerable, and alternative arrangements should be supported 17%
None of the above 4%

 

Q19b. And which ONE model of general practice would you like to see developed for the future?
Current independent contractor model should be supported and given resources to collaborate in the form of GP federations or networks 33%
Current independent contractor model of individual practices should be the prime model of general practices and should be supported and invested in 27%
Practices should form collaborative alliances with multi-professional healthcare staff to manage increasing care out of hours, such as MCPs 14%
Current independent contractor practices should join to form legal alliances, such as super partnerships with sharing of clinical, management, HR and regulatory responsibilities 11%
The current independent contractor model of individual practices is too onerous and vulnerable, and alternative arrangements should be supported 10%
None of the above 4%

 

More key results

  • Workforce

    The issue

    For partners

    • 31% of practices are unable to fill GP vacancies at all, while 27% are unable to fill vacancies within 6 months
    • Only 1 in 5 (19%) of partners are content with their current role
    • 34% of partners are exploring alternative working options

    For sessionals

    • 76% of locums chose to be freelance as a means of controlling excessive workload
    • 75% of sessionals are put off partnerships due to excessive workload

    "Dedicated GPs lack the resources they need to work"

    Read the blog

    Mark Sanford-Wood

    The results indicate a clear majority of locums chose to be freelance as a way of controlling excessive workload, while many practices are struggling to fill GP vacancies.

     

    Video

    Zoe Norris talks about the impact on the NHS when most GPs no longer aspire to becoming a partner and practices cannot recruit salaried or locum doctors.

     

    Infographic

    Breakdown of practice vacancies by geographical region in England

    GP survey infographic 2016

     

    Regional breakdown

    Q2: Within the last 12 months, please select the option most relevant to recruiting for GP vacancies (other than locum cover) on your practice?

    Region My practice has been unable to fill vacancies My practice has been able to recruit to fill vacancies within a reasonable timeframe My practice has been able to recruit to fill vacancies but this took three to six months My practice has not needed to recruit to fill a vacancy My practice has been able to recruit to fill vacancies but this took up to three months

    National

    31% 23% 18% 13% 9%
    South East 32% 23% 18% 10% 8%
    London 27% 30% 19% 10% 9%
    North West 33% 21% 17% 14% 8%
    East of England 35% 19% 18% 14% 8%
    West Midlands 35% 20% 16% 13% 10%
    South West 30% 30% 13% 13% 9%
    Yorkshire and Humber 27% 24% 18% 15% 11%
    East Midlands 34% 13% 25% 11% 10%
    North East 30% 20% 18% 20% 9%

     

    Media coverage

    Print and online

    iNews: GP practices unable to fill staff vacancies

    ITV Online: GP shortage damaging patient care

    Newcastle Chronicle: Finding it hard to get a GP appointment?

    Northern Echo: GPs in the North East struggling to fill vacancies

    Pulse: A third of GP partners struggle to recruit GPs for 12 months

    GP online: GP practices coping with permanent holes in their workforce, warns BMA

    GP online blog from Dr Zoe Norris, chair of the GPC sessional subcommittee

    OnMedica: A third of GP practices wait over a year to fill GP staff posts

    Broadcast

    Dr Richard Vaurtey, BMA GPs committee deputy chair was interviewed on BBC Radio Worcestershire and BBC Radio Coventry.

     

  • Workload

    The issue

    • 84% say excessive workload is preventing safe delivery of care (Q1)*
    • 38% of partners are considering closing their lists to safely manage workload (Q2)*
    • 45% of partners say that due to excessive workload they may only be able to provide essential services in the future (Q2)

    The possible solution

    • 64% say more community nurses are required for safe care (Q3a)
    • 59% want to see more resources invested to empower self-care (Q3a)
    • 23% believe increased self-care is the most effective way of reducing workload (Q3b)*
    • Half (53%) called for more mental health workers (Q3a)

     

    Infographic

    See the graphic visualisation of the survey results

    GP survey infographic 2016

     

    Regional breakdown

    Q1: Which of these best describes the impact of your current workload on the safety and quality of care that your patients receive?

    Region My workload is manageable and allows me to provide quality and safe care to my patients My workload is excessive and at times prevents me from providing quality and safe care to my patients My workload is excessive and significantly prevents me from providing quality and safe care to my patients None of these accurately describe my situation

    National

    10% 57% 27% 5%
    South East 10% 59% 27% 4%
    London 10% 58% 27% 6%
    North West 10% 56% 27% 6%
    East of England 10% 52% 31% 6%
    West Midlands 9% 57% 29% 5%
    South West 12% 60% 23% 6%
    Yorkshire and Humber 10% 59% 27% 4%
    East Midlands 11% 53% 31% 4%
    North East 10% 62% 23% 5%

     

    Media coverage

    The Daily Mail: GP workload affecting quality of patient care

    The Independent: BMA GP survey puts patient safety at risk

    The Daily Telegraph: Nine out of ten GPs cannot offer safe care

    The Sun: Survey wants patient care at risk from overworked doctors

    The Daily Mirror: GP workloads are “excessive”

    The Mail Online: Unmanageable workloads putting patients at risk

    The Yorkshire Post: GPs warn of care crisis

    The Yorkshire Post editorial: GPs buckling under workload pressure

    Articles in 83 Regional online news websites

    GP online: 8 out of ten GP say workload is “unmanageable”

    Pulse: 80 percent of GPs say workload affects patient care

    Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA GPs committee chair has written a  blog on the survey findings for Pulse and Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GPs deputy chair has a blog on the findings in GP online.