GPs are working hard to meet growing patient demand, but this is not sustainable. Our 2022 survey of RCGP members found that 39% of the GP workforce across the UK are seriously considering leaving the profession within the next five years. This could translate to over 22,000 GPs leaving the workforce across all four nations.
Whilst some progress has been made in increasing the number of GPs joining the workforce in recent years, this is not enough. GPs are leaving the workforce early at ever increasing rates, so we need to plug this gap to ensure that GPs are able to work sustainably and patients receive high-quality care.
Retaining the GP workforce report
As part of our work to understand the retention crisis that general practice is facing, and what we can do to support our GPs, we have produced the following report.
In this report, we explore the extent of the current retention crisis by drawing on available data to identify why GP workforce numbers are decreasing month on month and the factors that drive poor retention. However, there is a lot that can be done to contribute towards improving GP retention and make the GP a more enjoyable and sustainable career choice for current and future GPs.
Our key recommendations to UK governments and health systems
- A comprehensive review of existing retention initiativesbacked by an investment of £150 million per year in England and commensurate amounts in the devolved nations.
- Develop local retention initiatives so that every GP can access tailored support to stay in the profession for longer.
- Ensure funding is available in every locality for GPs to access a national retention scheme for those at highest risk of leaving the profession.
- Evaluate and improve induction and career support programmes for early career GPs.
- Build capacity at network or system level to introduce increased flexibility and new opportunities across local areas.
- Take action to improve GP workload, in particular to support the delivery of relationship-based care.
- Expand multidisciplinary teams in general practice and invest in support for integration and supervision of new roles.
- Publish improved workforce data across the UK, in order to inform better workforce planning.
- Develop impactful communications for patients which demonstrate the role of the GP and help to explain what a patient can expect from their practice, including seeing different members of the team.