GPs predict health White Paper could force their retirement

The White Paper reforms could prompt a rash of early retirement and lead to a shortage of GPs in some areas, LMCs and patient groups have warned.

Dr Balmer: unhappy GPs will choose to retire early
Dr Balmer: unhappy GPs will choose to retire early

Essex LMCs chairman Dr Brian Balmer predicted a ‘bulge’ in retirement as GP commissioning reforms in the White Paper Liberating the NHS take effect.

‘We have a lot of workaholic GPs who have kept the service running for a long time,’ Dr Balmer said.

‘But there will be a significant number of GPs who say this is not the kind of general practice they want to do and maybe think now is the right time to go.’  

Brian Keeling, chairman of Lincolnshire Local Involvement Network, which represents patient and community groups, said the number of GPs close to retirement was ‘really worrying’ for quiet areas like Lincolnshire.

‘We have a high number of GPs close to retirement and reforms giving a lot of extra responsibilities to them. It doesn’t take a genius to see that people will see it as a good time to move on,’ he said.

Responses to a recent survey by GP newspaper also indicate the White Paper has prompted many to consider retirement.

One GP said he had led his practice through fundholding and been active on both the LMC and PCT but had now ‘had enough’ ahead of the implementation of GP commissioning.

‘There is complete apathy towards this commissioning. Colleagues are looking towards me and others who have previous embraced and done everything,’ he wrote.

‘I have now had enough and think it is time for the younger generation to get on with it.’ Another respondent said of the White Paper: ‘[It will] make me more likely to retire as soon as I can possibly afford to.’

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