He renewed pressure on senior GPs after receiving ‘a great increase in complaints from younger doctors’.
‘I know an extremely talented and experienced GP who is having to work as a salaried doctor because she left her partnership and when she decided to return to general practice, she could not find a partnership for love nor money,’ he said. ‘So it goes to show how tough it is for those just starting out.’
Dr Buckman said the number of ads for senior posts placed in the medical press has dwindled in recent years because practices fear instability.
‘[former GPC chairman] Dr Hamish Meldrum talked about this a lot, but I think the situation has got worse, so I felt it was time to raise it with GPs again,’ said Dr Buckman. ‘It is becoming more and more obvious that the number of partnerships being offered to young doctors is now very low indeed. There are a lot of GPs applying for every position, and I know that some people don’t want the hassle of running their own practice – some even find themselves earning less – but in my experience it is the aim of most young GPs to become practice partners, and at the every least, cutting this route off to them will have disastrous consequences for the profession we know and love.’
He added that opportunities were being opened up for British GPs overseas, and for some the prospect of better wages and a less tempestuous working environment was enough to lure them away from the NHS.
‘I would urge partners to think of the future and make positions available for young staff, because it’s very important that the profession brings on the next generation or the door will be left wide open for private providers.’
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