According to the survey of 167 GPs conducted by BDRC consultants on behalf of Lloyds TSB Commercial, between 9 October 2011 and 31 January 2012, 91% expected financial pressures to increase. A total of 73% said they expected practice profits to decrease.
The Lloyds TSB Commercial Healthcare Index published today also revealed GPs to be the most pessimistic group compared with pharmacists and dentists, who were also surveyed. Confidence over the next year was higher with GPs registering minus 62%, pharmacists minus 42% and dentists minus 38%.
In the long-term confidence index looking at the next five years, GPs registered minus 81%.
Only 37% of GPs asked believe a move to clinical commissioning groups is a good thing, while 51% don’t and another 12% are not sure. But 52% of GPs are confident in the future of healthcare provision to patients in the UK, yet 60% expect NHS services to reduce by some degree over the next five years.
Head of healthcare banking services for Lloyds TSB Commercial, Ian Crompton, said: ‘Every indication is that the confidence of GPs is unlikely to improve until they can see a final outcome.
‘Partners in every size of practice have financial decisions to take and the Healthcare Confidence Index suggests that many are waiting for a clearer picture of a revamped NHS before they make them.
‘GPs who are taking decisions now and preparing for reforms with mergers, new premises and investment, may well be the ones who do feel most confident about change and are best placed to deliver when it arrives.’
73% of GPs asked said they expect the demise of the ‘single handed’ GP practices by 2017 with 89% saying they are expecting more practice mergers.