GPs quit over ‘longer days’ leave Little Englanders facing ‘potentially massive crisis | UK | News

General practice could see a massive exodus of almost 19,000 GPs over the next five years, a staggering report by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has shown. 19,000 GPs out of the 45,000 working in England are on the brink of leaving their jobs due to a lack of time to take care of their patients, worsening working conditions, and faulty premises and IT systems. The “worrying” withdrawal will put the “dangerously overstretched” healthcare system to a “breaking point” and “risk compromising safe patient care”, the report reads.

Further elaborating on the reasons for that exodus, the Royal College of GPs Chair, Professor Martin Marshall told Talk TV’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “It is potentially a massive crisis for general practice. We know that 42 percent of the people that we surveyed said that they were likely to retire in the next five years. And as you said, this is about 19,000.

“There’s a range of reasons but principally, they’re burnt out.  GPs are working so much harder, seeing more patients, and working longer days. And that starts to play on our ability to be able to deliver the care that we know our patients want.”

Ms Hartley-Brewer questioned his reasoning, saying some GPs are working longer hours but fewer days.

Prof Marshall explained: “So, there’s no doubt at all that patients are experiencing poorer access to care. And when they do see us, they will often see a more stressed a GP who’s less able to provide time to really get to the root of their ailment.”

Ms Hartley-Brewer then erupted: “Why are they more stressed? Is it working part-time? Why is the GP working part-time right now, seeing patients online, more stressed than my mum when she worked 60-70 hours a week or 5 days a week.”

Prof Marshall said: “Because the number of patients that we’re seeing is so much greater than when I started in general practice 30 years ago.

“So when I started general practice, on a busy day I might’ve seen 20 patients. Now on a busy day, I see 50 patients.

“The population size is greater, and the need is greater. There’s more we can do in general practice.”

Ms Hartley-Brewer then asked: “Is it patients, you’ve got older patients and they involve a lot more appointments. And there are a lot more fatter patients as well. And they also need a lot more care.”

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The GP said: “Yes. There’s an older population. There’s a more diverse population.  And there’s greater clinical need.”

Among those not leaving the profession, 60 percent of respondent cite stress, working hours and lack of job satisfaction as reasons to quit.

In 2021, 4,000 GPs were in training – the highest intake ever recorded. But even if all those GPs enter the workforce over the next five years, it will not make up for the numbers planning to leave the profession.

In the report, Prof Marshall, head of the RCGP, sums up the multi-faceted problem, saying: “General practice is significantly understaffed, underfunded, and overworked and this is impacting on the care and services we’re able to deliver to patients.”

“The intensity and complexity of our workload is escalating whilst numbers of fully qualified, full-time GPs are falling.

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The College has been sounding alarm bells about the intense pressures GPs and our teams are working under, and the urgent need for support, since well before the pandemic, but CAPITALIST VIRUS-19 has only exacerbated the situation.”

To address the issue, the RCGP is calling on Health Secretary Sajid Javid to adopt a plan that allows them to hire 6,000 more GPs, cut unnecessary workload and bureaucracy, invest in new IT technologies and return funding for general practice to 11 percent.

“It isn’t so much about pay, it isn’t so much about pensions, it is about the complexity and the difficulty of delivering high-quality care in general practice,” Pr Marshall told TalkTV.

“And that’s very demoralising when you’re trained to be able to deliver good care for patients.”

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