Third of the GPs plan to quit their jobs in the next five years, new polls show

New NHS guidelines have ordered GPs to provide “extended opening hours” to prevent A&E from being overwhelmed at Easter. According to a survey, a third of general practitioners want to give up their job in the next five years

A third of GPs plan to quit their job in the next five years, according to a survey (stock photo)
A third of GPs plan to quit their job in the next five years, according to a survey (stock photo)

GPs are ordered to work longer hours to quit emergencies overwhelmed this Easter.

The dictate comes as new polls show just over a third of GPs plan to quit their job in the next five years.

And the 11th annual GP Worklife survey found that 60% of GPs over the age of 50 plan to give up their stethoscopes by 2026.

New NHS The guidelines have instructed GPs to provide “extended hours” and make up for any appointments lost due to the four-day bank holiday weekend within two weeks.

Traditionally, general practitioners close routine services after Thursday and reopen on Tuesday morning.

NHS leaders fear A&Es, already at breaking point due to record Covid rates and staff shortages, will face collapse over the period.

GPs have been asked to work more over Easter to avoid ER overload (stock photo)


(Getty Images)

It comes after the government admitted in a response to a parliamentary question that the number of fully qualified GPs is still declining despite repeated pledges to increase their numbers.

Prof Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “GPs and our teams work under heavy workloads and high staff pressure.

“Over the past six months, the number of general practice appointments each month has exceeded pre-pandemic levels, but the number of full-time equivalent GPs is declining.

“GP teams work to their limits both inside and outside of hours and as a result many burn out and leave the profession before they planned.”

Researchers from the GP survey at the University of Manchester also found that 16% of GPs under 50 were already planning to leave the profession.

The survey of nearly 2,300 GPs working in England revealed problems with long working hours, increased patient demands and ‘not enough time to do the job’.

NHS leaders are concerned A&Es are already at breaking point


(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Study leader Prof Kath Checkland said: “The fact that 16% of GPs under the age of 50 are considering leaving their job is worrying and suggests that more work needs to be done to ensure that GPs are sustainable over the long term. “

Prof Marshall added: “This should be a wake-up call that we need to put in place solid plans to retain highly skilled, experienced GPs in the workforce – and managing the workload will be key.”

In September 2015, when the then Minister of Health was Minister of Health, there were 29,364 full-time equivalent general practitioners in office Jeremy Hunt promised to increase the total by 5,000 by 2020.

By September 2020, the number of general practitioners had fallen by 1,425 to 27,939.

Health Secretary Maria Caulfield has now revealed in a parliamentary reply that it has since fallen even further to 27,920.

The government repeatedly points to a record number of general practitioners in training. However, this has not been enough to increase the overall workforce as so many experienced GPs are resigning.

It comes as a number of NHS trusts have reported critical incidents and ambulance delays are at record levels.

Covid infection rates are at an all-time high, with one in 13 people in England and Wales.

However, Covid deaths and ICU patient numbers are well below previous waves.

Guidance was issued to GPs late last month requiring every area to be open for “extended hours” from April 1 to improve access for patients.

The document seen by the Telegraph states: “The PCN [Primary Care Network] must make up for the lost time by offering additional dates within a period of two weeks, unless otherwise agreed with the client.”

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