RCGPNI launches new strategy to tackle GP workforce retention

RCGP Northern Ireland has today announced the publication of its new report, A Workforce Fit for the Future: RCGPNI Retention Strategy (PDF file, 1.6 MB).

As the foundation of the health service in Northern Ireland, general practice has shouldered the burden of escalating demand, a declining workforce, and real-terms funding cuts to a point of geographical destabilisation never seen before. Urgent action is needed to preserve and protect the existing general practice workforce.  

Based on an extensive consultation process with 200 GPs, this report outlines the key workforce retention challenges as identified by the GP profession in NI, and proposes a series of solutions to address workforce attrition. 

Dr Ursula Mason, a GP in Carryduff and Chair of RCGP Northern Ireland, said: 

"We know that general practice needs investment in a sustainable funding model and a properly enacted and resourced workforce plan in the long-term, but there are actions that could be taken in the short to medium-term that would make a real difference.  We need to provide tailored interventions to make working as a GP in Northern Ireland more attractive across all career stages. We need a practitioner health programme to support clinicians in crisis amid increasing rates of burnout. We need tangible interventions addressing the burden of workload in general practice, to improve the efficiency and safety of our services, and the provision of support for practices at risk of collapse. 

"Ultimately, improving the retention of our GP workforce is about keeping general practice afloat and able to provide the safe, effective, and person-centred care which all our patients need and deserve. I commend these findings now to decision-makers to take action."

Further information

Read the full report, A Workforce Fit for the Future: RCGPNI Retention Strategy (PDF file, 1.6 MB).

A launch event for the report will be held on Tuesday 16 April at 14:00 in the Long Gallery at Stormont.

For media requests, contact Claire Castles: email claire.castles@rcgp.org.uk, or phone 0203 188 7725 (07724 499054 outside office hours).

Notes to editors

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.