Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

One in three GPs 'planning to quit'

One in three GPs is planning to leave the NHS in the next five years, a survey suggests

One in three GPs is planning to leave the NHS in the next five years, with some blaming the Government's health reforms, a survey suggests.

The snapshot poll found GPs under strain, with 46% saying they suffer stress, 19% having anxiety and 7% suffering from depression.

Overall, 71% said the Government's health Bill had "slightly damaged" or "greatly damaged" their morale, while 9% said it had "slightly increased" or "greatly increased" it and 20% said it had had no effect.

Fewer than one in five (18%) believed general practice was currently moving in the right direction, while 63% said it was not and 19% did not know.

The small survey of 576 doctors, for Pulse magazine, found 60% thought the amount of time they spent with patients has got worse over the past five years, while 8% said it had improved. Some 36% go into their surgery at weekends to do paperwork, with 73% working longer hours during the week than they used to.

Almost six in 10 (59%) said their practice's ability to meet patient expectations had got worse over the past five years, but 13% believed it had improved. And 45% said the overall level of NHS care had got worse over the past five years, while 17% said it had improved.

Of the entire sample, 35% are planning on leaving or will retire in the next five years.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, head of the British Medical Association, told Pulse he feared low morale could cause senior GPs to leave the NHS.

He said: "Morale isn't that good when it comes to things like pay, the threats to pensions and the various other things that are going on in the NHS.

"One worries that actually more senior GPs will think: 'Well, it's just not worth it - I'll take my pension before the blighters get hold of it and I'll retire.'

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