The current climate of imminent Care Quality Commission practice registration, revalidation implementation and the threat to pensions is likely to be playing a part in GPs' decisions to retire.
Last month, a Leicester University study found that allowing a patient to see a particular GP in a surgery had an important impact on reducing hospital admissions. Researchers found a 1% increase in the proportion of patients able to see a particular GP was associated with a reduction of 7.6 elective admissions per year in the average sized practice in one year and 3.1 in another.
It doesn't sound like rocket science but it does appear that continuity of care works.
It is this continuity of care that is under threat in the current climate of practice mergers. GPC negotiator Dr Peter Holden criticises the government for its opposition to singlehanded GPs. 'It believes big is beautiful, it thinks in economies of scale.'
It is exactly this view that makes it more difficult for singlehanders to gain premises funding from PCTs.
Government, the DH and PCTs are not alone in perpetuating this view. The NHS Commissioning Board (NCB) has also overseen the end of the authorisation dream of England's smallest clinical commissioning group (CCG).
The Red House Group CCG, covering 18,900 patients in Hertfordshire, formed because it believed its size made it better able to respond to its patients' needs.
We'll never know whether it would have been successful or not. The NCB, already facing accusations that it is exerting too much central control, would have perhaps been wiser not to assume that bigger is always more beautiful.
Continuity of care is the jewel in the crown of general practice and should be something to treasure rather than discard.