'GPs leaving because the job satisfaction has gone', says former doctor

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The number of GPs who plan to leave the profession in the next five years is at an "all-time high", a new report has found.

A national survey of GPs, which has been polling family doctors since 1999, found that almost two in five (39 per cent) said they were likely to quit direct patient care within five years.

This is the highest figure since the National GP Worklife Survey began, researchers said.

They said the finding was "particularly worrying" due to the possible implications it might have on recruitment, retention and patient care.

The figures come after it emerged that more than a million patients have been forced to look for a new GP in the last five years after their surgery closed or merged.

Pulse magazine found that between 2013 and 2017 a total of 445 GP practices shut their doors due to closures or mergers, affecting more than a million patients.

Recruitment, retention and funding issues were cited as reasons behind some of the closures.

Meanwhile the new survey, published by experts at the University of Manchester, found that a large proportion of younger GPs expect to quit or change roles in the next five years.

Among GPs under 50, 13.5 per cent said there was a considerable or high likelihood of leaving direct patient care within five years.

Among GPs of all ages, 39 per cent of respondents indicated that there was a considerable or high likelihood that they would quit within five years - up from 35 per cent in 2015.

Dr Richard Taylor, President of the National Health Action Party, spoke to Chris Hollins on the talkRADIO's breakfast show and said: “The workload of GPs has increased tremendously. They’ve got too many patients to see, and too short a time for consultation.

“How can you look after a patient with complex needs in a maximum 10 minute consultation? You can’t and you don’t have time to get them back to do things properly," he added.

“The job satisfaction has gone, so it’s quite understandable why they’re leaving early, retiring early and going abroad, and just looking for a change.

“There’s no real relationship between a patient and a GP, and that’s why you want to become a GP to look after a patient to get to know them and to get to know their family, and that sort of relationship has completely gone.”