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56% of GPs to quit early: study

More than half of family doctors say they are set to leave the profession early, according to a new survey.

The survey of 1,004 GPs across the UK, for the BBC's Inside Out programme, found that 56% said they expect to retire or leave before they are 60.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt described the figures as "worrying" while Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, of the British Medical Association, said he was not "surprised" by them. Dr Kasaraneni suggested that "politicians across the board need to acknowledge that general practice is not resourced correctly."

The survey found that 25% of GPs said they will definitely leave before reaching 60 while 32% said thought they would probably not retire or leave general practice by that age. There were 6% of GPs who said they were definitely not planning to leave the profession before they turned 60.

Volume of consultations, working hours, standing within the profession and pay along with their portrayal in the media portrayal and workload were among the reasons given for leaving.

There were 27% of GPs who cited the volume of consultations as the main reason why fewer medical students and foundation doctors are choosing to specialise in general practice,

The working hours were blamed by 19% while 20% pointed to their standing within the profession as a reason to leave.

Mr Hunt told BBC Inside Out: "The centre of gravity in the NHS for 66 years has been big hospitals. We have to change that to make the centre of gravity general practice and out-of-hospital care."

He said the plan is to transform care for older people in the NHS in the next five years and to encourage people to come back to general practice.

Mr Hunt told BBC Inside Out: "Hospitals have been struggling to meet increasing demand. That's taken money away from services like GPs, mental health and district nurses. That's wrong and we're moving to correct that."

The programme reports that estimates suggest that it costs more than quarter of a million pounds to get a student through medical school. In the three years up to 2013 the number of unfilled GP posts almost quadrupled. Over the last five years consultations have shot up by an estimated 60 million a year.

One student at Imperial Medical School, Mitul Patel, told the programme: "The thought of a career that involves a lot of these frustrations puts you off ... The work is so stressful it's putting current and prospective GP trainees off."


From Belfast Telegraph