GP ‘crisis’ as hoards of Yorkshire doctors look to retire

Picture by Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.
Picture by Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.
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Scores of Yorkshire GPs are looking to retire in the next five years amid an NHS “recruitment and retention crisis”.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has warned politicians that their promises of boosting doctor numbers are “absurd” following a study of more than 15,500 of UK GPs.

In Northern England a third of the 3,558 GPs who responded to a BMA survey said they intended to retire in the next five years, citing issues with heavy workloads and a lack of time with patients.

Yorkshire has long had issues in filling its vacant GP training posts. A third of Health Education Yorkshire and the Humber’s GP training places were unfilled after the first round of recruitment earlier this year.

Dr Richard Vautrey, a Meanwood GP and deputy chair of the British Medical Association’s GP committee, explained that many older GPs have simply had enough.

“Many feel they have not been valued by Government and have been constantly attacked and undermined by Governments of both colours in the last decade. They feel their only option is to call it quits,” he said.

“It is a workforce that is predominantly in its 50s planning to retire as soon as they can, and that’s the case right across Yorkshire.”

The BMA has called on the next Government to prioritise funding for community-based practice services and community nursing teams in the face of rising discontent.

According to its survey, nationally almost three in 10 full-time GPs are thinking about going part-time, one in 10 would consider moving abroad and seven per cent would consider quitting medicine altogether.

Leaders of the main parties have all pledged to increase GP numbers by thousands.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA GP committee chair, said: “These pledges blindly ignore the recruitment and retention crisis that is draining the numbers of GPs we already have.”

An NHS England spokesman said it is on track to have 4,900 more GPs trained by 2020 than it did by 2012. Adding that “primary care is the bedrock of the NHS”, he said that NHS England has invested £10million in initiatives to recruit and retain doctors into general practice.

KEY FINDINGS

- One third of UK GPs are considering retiring from general practice in the next five years.

- Around one in five GP trainees – the youngest cohort in the profession – are considering working abroad before 2020.

- Over two thirds of GPs state that while manageable, they experience a significant amount of work related stress. However, one in six, feel their stress is unmanageable.

- More than 70 per cent of GPs have cited that they have excessive workloads.

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