In a survey of GPs, 48% said that they would recommend general practice as a career choice to someone about to start university. Nearly a third (32.4%) of GPs said that they would not recommend it.
GP partners expressed a slightly different view than locum and salaried GPs.
Although 35.5% of GP partners said they would not recommend general practice as a career to students, 42% said they would recommend it. 21.7% said they didn’t know.
Locum and salaried GPs were more positive in their responses. Over half (54.2%) said that they would recommend general practice as a career to students. Only 28.9% said that they would not recommend it and 16.9% didn’t know.
One GP partner said they could not recommend general practice to students because it was changing for the worse.
‘It may have changed completely in the 11 years it will take them to qualify as a GP from starting medical school at age 18. At present it is downhill all the way starting from the new contract in 2004,' they said.
One GP partner said they were actively discouraging their children from going into medicine.
‘I have already told my children that I will not pay if they want to go into medicine.’
A salaried GP said: ‘My children hear it nearly every day: do not attempt to study medicine.’
Some GPs were more positive but still cautious about the profession.
A salaried GP said: ‘It is still a vocational career with a lot of satisfaction but the bureaucracy has increased hugely since I started 30 years ago.’
One GP partner said: ‘It remains attractive as a flexible career option but I am wary of the increasing pressures and expectation of GPs.’
Despite some negative responses, a large number of GPs still felt positive about general practice and said they would recommend it to students.
One GP locum said: ‘I have often been negative in my advice including to my own children, but overall (considering all factors) I would vote for a GP career.’
A locum GP said: 'Definitely. It is probably the best medical specialty.’