Being a full time GP is now ‘unmanageable’, says College

The College has responded to today’s Nuffield Trust report on the NHS ‘dropout’ crisis, in which the think-tank claims that GP trainees are going part-time or leaving the profession shortly after qualifying. Dr Victoria Tzortziou Brown, Vice Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“We are seeing a promising uptake in the number of doctors choosing general practice and we can't allow this progress to reverse. There may be many reasons for GP trainees choosing to work part-time, or even leaving the profession, after qualifying, but we are extremely concerned that this is happening due to unsustainable workload pressures and need urgent action to halt this.

“General practice has been allowed to decline for well over a decade, with the result that more GPs are leaving the profession than are entering it. We now have a serious workload and workforce crisis, with demand for our services ever-rising but without the supply of GPs to cope.

“The sad fact is that the job of a ‘full time’ GP is now largely unmanageable, and even working 'part time' in general practice often means working what would normally be considered full-time, or longer, and includes many hours of paperwork on top of patient appointments.

“We must come up with urgent solutions for the sake of our patients and the hardworking and dedicated doctors who are burning out due to workload pressures. We need to see a fully-funded national retention scheme and measures to cut the amount of time that GPs have to spend on bureaucracy when they want to be caring for their patients.

“Being a GP can be a wonderfully rewarding career but if we are to revitalise general practice, we must make sure GPs have the resources and support they need to do their jobs, at every career stage.

“The College has been saying this for years, so we are pleased that an influential think-tank such as the Nuffield Trust is highlighting these concerns around the future GP pipeline and acknowledging the important role that general practice plays in keeping the wider NHS afloat.”

Further information

RCGP press office: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 54,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.