GPs want urgent action to address the workforce crisis in general practice.
They want to see measures to:
- Promote the recruitment of potential GPs
- Support the retention of existing GPs
- Reduce the barriers for GPs returning to practice.
Leeds GP Raj Menon said: ‘General practice is facing a workload and a workforce crisis. We are workload saturated … We need more GPs to be able to cope with the patterns of healthcare in the future.’
GPs said factors such as the government’s desire to move work from secondary to primary care without an accompanying shift of resources, the extra work imposed under the GP contract in England, problems recruiting GP trainees, and the increasing demands of an ageing population were all contributing to the problems.
Derbyshire GP Peter Williams said two GP partners in his practice had retired in their 50s because they could not take the pressure any more. He said one was now ‘working in a coffee shop instead’ and this was not right.
Shropshire GP Ian Rummens said that 30 years ago, practices advertising for partners would receive an average of 80 to 100 applications. In the last six months, practices that had advertised in his area had received just one application. He said there was a shortage of salaried doctors and locums as well as GP partners.
GPs repeatedly called on health secretary Jeremy Hunt to work with them, instead of attacking them.
Devon GP Andrew Richardson said general practice provided the most cost-effective care in the NHS.
GPC education, training and workforce subcommittee chair Terry John said the issue was being given a high priority and GP leaders were working with the Royal College of GPs and Health Education England to help resolve the problems.