Unmanageable GP workloads at ‘critical point’, new report warns

“My job makes me feel utterly, totally stressed, depressed and suicidal. I realise I have to change something soon to save my sanity.”

“Not being able to deliver safe or quality care is both demotivating and frightening – how long before I make a major mistake, because I am just too drained and shattered to pick up on an important cue?”

“I am shocked to see how many GPs in early or mid-career are solving this problem on an individual basis by cutting down their sessions or moving out of general practice altogether.”

These are just some of the quotes from over 1000 GPs from across the UK who have been surveyed for the new report, ‘Diagnosing the GP crisis: voices from the front line of primary care’, released on Tuesday 14 March.

The report reveals the unprecedented effect of unmanageable workloads on GPs – on their own well-being, on their ability to perform their duties safely, and on the future retention and recruitment of doctors into general practice.

Key findings include:

  • Unmanageable workloads are compromising the quality and consistency of the care that GPs are able to provide: 85% say that the volume of their workload prevents them from doing their job well.
  • Unmanageable workloads are forcing GPs out of the profession and contributing to a recruitment crisis: more than 90% have either left or considered leaving due to increasing workloads, or have reduced their hours in order to cope.
  • Less than a third (30%) would choose to train as a GP if they were given the option now.

The findings suggest that the effects of unmanageable workloads may prevent the NHS from meeting its target to recruit and train 5000 new doctors into general practice over the next five years.

The report is part of a wider campaign by GP education provider Red Whale that aims to counter negative perceptions of GPs, highlight the issues they face, and provide them with professional support.

“We know that GPs want to provide high-quality, consistent care to their patients, but in many cases the vast and unmanageable workloads that they face prevent them from being able to do so,” says Caroline Greene, GP and Business Development Director at Red Whale.

“This report shows that the impact of those workloads has reached a critical point, leaving many GPs feeling unable to safely and effectively do their jobs, and forcing others out of general practice altogether.

“We are listening to what GPs are saying, and we want those in charge of making decisions to listen too, before it’s too late.”


Source: ‘Diagnosing the GP crisis: voices from the front line of primary care,’ Red Whale report, March 2017.

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