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Over a third of GPs in Scotland plan to retire in the next five years

More than a third of GPs are planning to retire from general practice within the next five years according to the latest figures from the BMA’s survey of GPs in Scotland. 

The findings are the second set of results from the BMA’s survey of the profession in Scotland

Key findings from the survey about the current state of the GP workforce include:

  • One third of respondents (35%) are planning to retire from general practice in the next five years. One in five (20%) said they are planning to move to part time. Six per cent are planning to move abroad and six percent are planning to quit medicine altogether.
  • Over two thirds of GPs (70%) state that while manageable, they experience a significant amount of work related stress. However, 15% feel their stress is significant and unmanageable.
  • Asked to rank what factors were having a negative impact on their commitment to being a GP, 55% of respondents said that workload had the most negative impact, 21% said that unresourced work being moved into general practice was the biggest negative and 13% said that insufficient time with patients was the biggest negative.

Dr Alan McDevitt, Chair of the BMA’s Scottish GP committee, said:

“This survey lays bare the stark reality facing the GP workforce. It’s deeply worrying that more than a third of GPs are planning on retiring in the next five years and a significant number are also planning to reduce their working hours.

“It is clear that increasing pressures on GP services are at the heart of this problem, with escalating demand having outstripped capacity. GPs are overworked and intensely frustrated that they do not have enough time to spend with their patients, especially the rising numbers of older people with multiple and complex problems who need specialised care.

“We need the government to focus on addressing the pressures facing GP services, so that we retain the current GP workforce and attract young doctors to become GPs. If we do not ensure that general practice receives direct support and funding to make it an attractive career option for doctors, we could soon be in a situation where we do not have enough GPs to deliver effective care to patients.”


For further information please contact:

BMA Scotland, 14 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1LL
Telephone: 0131 247 3050 | 0131 247 3052 | 0131 247 3018 
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