GPs call for 'urgent' government action to halt workforce crisis

GPs have called on the government to take urgent action to reduce the acceleration of the 'current workforce crisis' caused in part by an 'avalanche' of unresourced work moving into practices from hospitals.

LMC conference: growing workforce crisis
LMC conference: growing workforce crisis

LMCs voted for the government to 'promote the recruitment of potential GPs', 'support the retention of existing GPs' and to 'reduce the barrier to returning GPs', at today's LMC conference in central London.

Dr Raj Menon from Leeds LMC said the 'avalanche of increased work from hospitals' was not being resourced, leading to low morale and an increase in early retirements.

'What has the government's response been to this crisis?,' Dr Menon asked. 'To impose unjustified and unacceptable contract changes on us, to cut the Doctors and Dentists Review Body award so that they could get another pay cut. To push through draconian pension changes that will mean that many of us will have to work until we are 68 or over.

'We need to make general practice an attractive career again.

'The government needs to help us retain GPs in the workforce. Funding the retainer and the returner scheme properly, and making it available across the country would be a step in the right direction.

'Our patients need GPs, our country needs GPs. It is time that the government worked with us rather than against us, to restore general practice to what it should be - the best general practice in the world.'

Dr Menon called for an investment in general practice and a boost to GP registrar numbers because some areas are struggling to recruit the next generation of GPs.

Dr Farah Jameel, a GP registrar, and a member of the BMA junior doctors committee, told the conference that she should be excited about starting her career as a GP soon, but she is fed up and worried.

'In my fledging career, I have seen a few esteemed, experienced, senior colleagues resign,' she said. 'One of them is now a learning disabilities teaching assistant and finds it a far more fulfilling and thankful job. GPs attempting to return to practice but unable to cope and resigning with a broken spirit. GPs unable to cope and resigning with a broken spirit. There's plenty of stories out there.

'It breaks me to see such high achievers back away from what had been a fulfilling way of life. I am meant to embark on an exciting journey as a GP in the NHS, or whatever it is going to be replaced with in the coming near future.

'Every day I hear, read, a new declamatory soundbite from the anarchy regime that is Jeremy Hunt. I am fed up. I am fed up and also worried. I am very worried about my future and the future of my fellow colleagues.'

GPs rejected motions calling on the government to 'reduce the number of GPs retiring early'. Another one rejected by delegates called on the government to 'reduce the high number of GPs emigrating overseas'.

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