General practitioner Wales

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Survey reveals extent of GP gloom

A snapshot survey of 174 Welsh GPs has revealed doctors are overworked and stressed, with many regretting their choice of profession.

David BaileyThe BMA Cymru Wales survey has revealed low morale and huge recruitment difficulties.

A quarter of respondents whose practices had advertised for full-time positions in the past 12 months said they had received no applications.

Training was another issue, with just 13.4 per cent of respondents saying there were enough GP training places in Wales.

No recommendation

One GP who responded to the survey said: ‘I would not recommend general practice as a career and I tell medical students and our registrars that. Our workload is never-ending, with working days becoming longer with no breaks.'

Another said: ‘Enormously difficult to recruit to rural practice now compared with even 10 years ago.‘

Geographical drawbacks

A third GP responded: ‘There is a lack of candidates wanting to come to our part of Wales to work full-time in general practice.

‘It is the full-timers who carry the burden of practice because they are there all the time.

‘If doctors aren’t there on a regular basis, they can’t work.

‘You either get the existing doctors to stay and work more, or you train more doctors to work less.’

BMA Welsh GPs committee chair David Bailey (pictured above) said the survey revealed no surprises but it was a warning for the future of general practice in Wales, especially in rural areas.

He said: ‘There are issues with recruitment. There are issues with sustainability and funding, and this affects the confidence of people wanting to go into practice.’