British medical practitioners are dissatisfied

One in four general practitioners (GPs) in Britain's National Health Service is seriously considering leaving general practice and almost half plan to retire before the age of 60, according to a survey by the British Medical Association (BMA). The BMA said the findings show the scale of the challenge facing the government as it seeks to recruit and retain doctors and bring down long waiting lists for treatment.

The survey of the nation's 42,360 GPs shows that two-thirds complain morale in the profession is low or very low. Nearly two-thirds say it is worse than it was five years ago.

  • Most GPs have between 1,500 and 2,500 patients, and more than one quarter manage 2,000 to 3,000 patients.

  • Ninety-three percent say they want to treat a smaller number of patients.

  • Ninety-three percent say they want longer consultations with patients.

    One in five complain that work-related stress is excessive and unmanageable. More than half say the extent to which work impinges on their quality of life is unacceptable.

    More than 80 percent of GPs feel that the government's plans for improving the National Health Service are not achievable in the time scale proposed.

    In May this year, a ballot of all GPs indicated that 86 percent of those who voted would be prepared to consider resigning from their current contract if a better contract and negotiating rights cannot be secured by April 2002.

    Source: Zosia Kmietowicz, Quarter of GPs want to quit, BMA survey shows, British Medical Journal, October 20, 2001; One in four British family docs consider quitting, Reuters Health, October 17, 2001.

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    FMF\23 October 2001
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