A new survey carried out by the University of Exeter has found that about two in five GPs in the south-west of England are planning to quit medicine in the next five years, while Seven in ten GPs intend to stop seeing patients, take a career break or reduce their hours within the next five years.
The survey was financed by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and more than 2,000 GPs responded to the survey. The survey results provides a clear picture of low morale which, if repeated in other areas, could point to a greater and more imminent crisis than before anticipated in relation to the worsening shortage of GPs nationwide.
John Campbell, professor of University of Exeter medical school and practising GP led the survey and said that the findings were worrying even in the face of the well-established national crisis-facing general practice in England.
The chair of Royal College of GPs (RCGP), Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, has responded to the survey and said that currently, the GPs are facing intense workload and resource pressures and these new figures show it is severely impacting NHS workforce, and RCGP fear that GPs are indicative of the situation right across the UK.
She further added that the future of the NHS relies on having a robust general practice service, with sufficient GPs to deliver the safe care and services to patients need. RCGP teams and GPs make the huge majority of NHS patient contacts and in doing so RCGP keep the health service cost effective and safe for patients.
Krishna Kasaraneni, the British Medical Association (BMA) education, training and workforce GP lead said that the findings again showed the terrible impact of years of under-investment in general practice were having on services and staff.
He further added that many GPs are voting with their feet because of the daily struggle of trying to provide enough appointments to patients without the resources or support they need.
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