Third of GPs to retire within five years, BMA poll warns

One in three GPs are planning to retire in the next five years, according to figures from a BMA poll of GPs in Scotland.

GPC Scotland chair Dr Alan McDevitt (Photo: Douglas Robertson)
GPC Scotland chair Dr Alan McDevitt (Photo: Douglas Robertson)

Workload was the most common factor cited by GPs as likely to drive them out of general practice, with 55% of GPs saying workload was the issue having the 'most negative impact' on their commitment to remaining in the profession.

A total of 70% of GPs said their workload was manageable but that they experienced a 'significant amount' of work-related stress, while 15% said their stress was 'unmanageable'.

Earlier findings from the survey published by BMA Scotland showed that 90% of GPs believe heavy workload has damaged the quality of care they give to patients, while 93% of GPs do not believe consultation times are long enough.

GP workload

The findings echo warnings from the BMA over recent years about the impact of soaring workload. GPonline reported last year that a huge BMA poll of 15,000 GPs across the UK had found one in three were considering retirement in the next five years.

Meanwhile a BMA poll last month found that eight out of 10 GPs in England report unmanageable workload.

GPC Scotland chair Dr Alan McDevitt said: 'This survey lays bare the stark reality facing the GP workforce. It’s deeply worrying that more than a third of GPs are planning on retiring in the next five years and a significant number are also planning to reduce their working hours.

GPs under pressure

'It is clear that increasing pressures on GP services are at the heart of this problem, with escalating demand having outstripped capacity. GPs are overworked and intensely frustrated that they do not have enough time to spend with their patients, especially the rising numbers of older people with multiple and complex problems who need specialised care.

'We need the government to focus on addressing the pressures facing GP services, so that we retain the current GP workforce and attract young doctors to become GPs. If we do not ensure that general practice receives direct support and funding to make it an attractive career option for doctors, we could soon be in a situation where we do not have enough GPs to deliver effective care to patients.'

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