GP workload must be capped to prevent mass exodus, say LMCs

Increasing GP workload is leading to an exodus of doctors from UK primary care, according to LMC leaders who have demanded urgent limits on work intensity.

LMC conference 2015: workload crisis
LMC conference 2015: workload crisis

Plunging morale and rising workload is leading to the ‘biggest workforce crisis’ since the inception of general practice, GP representatives have warned.

GPs at the 2015 LMCs conference called for urgent action to address unsustainable levels of workload and for the government to act on funding, recruitment and retention issues.

Dr Jackie Applebee from City and East London LMC called for GPs to refuse to take part in CQC inspections, appraisals and 8am to 8pm opening hours.

‘There are plenty of activities we undertake that we could stop, which would have little to no impact on patient care, which would force politicians to listen to us,’ she said. ‘Just calling for "urgent action" is not enough to make governments see reason.

‘We need to act together and be clear about what needs to stop.’

GPs deserve respect

GPs are shown a lack of respect, said Dr Michael Haughney from Glasgow LMC. ‘Secondary care is dumping its workload on us, and plans for seven-day working gives the impression we are doing a 9 to 5, Monday to Friday job,’ he said. ‘But we are one of the best-educated, efficient, and intellectually capable workforces in the land.’

This message about GPs is hindering recruitment, said Anne Jeffreys from Hull and East Yorkshire LMC, and increased resources and increased respect is needed to boost the number of trainees.

Dr Krishna Kasaraneni said that general practice was being ‘dumbed down’ while GPs were expected to talk it up.

However, Dr Jamie Macpherson from Coventry LMC, speaking against the motion, said that GPs are ‘complicit’ in recruitment problems.

‘We will never attract more GPs if the message is one of doom and gloom, which is what we’re doing today,’ he said. ‘We should spread the word that, in spite of its trials and tribulations, a career in general practice is second to none.’             

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