A recent survey of NHS GPs found that as many as 4 in 10 GPs expect to shut up shop within the next 5 years. Doctors’ representatives said that the findings indicated that too many family doctors were at the end of their tether, and that large numbers of them were thinking about retiring early, or expect the GP service to be centralised to cope with a GP shortage.
20% of GPs questioned said that they expected to be forced into a reduction of routine appointments, and a third were planning to reduce the number of services offered by their surgery.
The survey, which was carried out by Pulse magazine, found that 42% of GPs expected that their surgery would be closed within five years, and that 135 expected that they would close the doors within two years. As many as 1 in 20 GPs expect to be closing within six months, saying that the main reasons for considering closure included overwork and burnout.
Does the NHS have enough GPs?
The deputy chairman of the BMA, Dr Richard Vautrey, said that the poll proved that GPs were struggling to cope with the rising demands being placed on them. GPs have also recently met with the Health Secretary to express their feelings about being overworked and there being insufficient doctors to meet demand. The NHS has since announced a plan to put more money into general practice in an attempt to decrease pressure on hospital services.
Another recent study showed that thousands of GP patients could risk being left without access to a doctor as the number of surgeries considering shrinking their practice areas has doubled in just a year. The study showed rapidly increasing numbers of surgeries which are reducing their catchment areas, refusing to take on new patients or asking existing patients to move elsewhere.
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