Future GPs 'would work for private firms'

More than half of future GPs would work for practices run by private providers, a GP snapshot poll has found.

An even higher proportion said that they would accept a job in a polyclinic.

‘It's not really why I wanted to become a GP,' one registrar interviewed at the BMA's ‘GPs-to-Be' conference in London last month said. ‘But in the current job climate I might have to.'

Dr Alex Smallwood, chairman of the BMA's GP trainees sub-committee, said the figures were a ‘bombshell.' ‘The private sector will get highly skilled people at the taxpayer's expense,' he said.

The survey found that 52 per cent of future GPs would work for a privately-run practice. Only 36 per cent would not consider it.

The results are a dramatic reversal from a survey conducted at the 2006 conference, where half of those surveyed said they would not work for private providers under any circumstance.

Most respondents said they would prefer to work in a traditional practice. But they fear the shortage of job opportunities will force them to explore other options.

Dr Beth McCarron-Nash, the youngest member of the GPC negotiating team, warned that practices' failure to provide opportunities for young GPs meant that APMS employers were becoming ‘very enticing'.

‘I think if you ask most doctors they fundamentally believe in list-based general practice and an NHS that's free at the point of access,' she said. ‘But that doesn't marry up with the job opportunities.'

jonn.elledge@haymarket.com

  • For the full story, see GP's 8 August edition.

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