Exclusive: Most locum and salaried GPs have no interest in partnership role

Two out of three locum and salaried GPs are not interested in moving into practice partnership roles, a GPonline survey suggests.

The findings prompted warnings from GP leaders that rapid investment in core general practice funding is 'imperative' to ensure that the profession has a sustainable future.

Of 261 locum or salaried GPs who responded to the GPonline poll, 64% said they would not consider taking up a partnership role in a GP practice.

The survey also found that many partners were considering their position. Of 221 GPs who were currently partners, 48% said they had considered switching to a salaried or locum role in the past 12 months. A handful - 3% - of respondents to the survey who had been partners within the past 12 months said they had already quit to take up a salaried or locum position.

GP crisis

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey told GPonline: 'These findings are not a surprise when GPs are in the midst of one of the worst crisis they will have ever experienced.

'The pressures of partnership, with falling resources and income together with rapidly rising workload and risk, are becoming too much for many GPs and they want to get out or reduce their commitment as quickly as possible. Salaried and locum GPs see this and it's not an attractive option.

'However for the sustainability not only of general practice but of the whole NHS it's imperative that we build on the partnership model and that this situation is turned around through significant investment into core contracts to both provide stability for practices and to enable the expansion of practice teams to properly deal with rising workload pressures.'

GP workload

Although some locums who took part in the survey said they may consider partnership in future, many said the role was not attractive.

One respondent said: 'I have been a partner before and family commitments prevent me from taking on the responsibilities of partnership.'

Another GP said: 'No, because I worry for my work-life balance as a result of becoming a partner.'

A third respondent said: 'I would not consider a salaried or partnership role within the NHS. I have been both in the past, working conditions are horrendous, I hadnt realised how stressed and miserable I was until I became a locum.'

May existing partners echoed concerns about workload, but some were determined not to abandon the role. One GP said: 'Moving to salaried looks a good option, but I suspect that is the government hope. If we become salaried we will lose huge status to the government who will then impose stricter regulations on us. Resist this move.'

Photo: Geoff Franklin

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