GP Service 'Faces Workforce Crisis'

15 April 2015, 06:00

Scottish GPs are on the brink of a workforce crisis with almost a third of practitioners hoping to retire in the next five years, the British Medical Association has found.

Scotland is already facing a GP recruitment crisis with vacancies in a fifth (20%) of practices - and the imminent departures could make the problem worse, the BMA said.

Just over half (53%) of GPs said they would recommend a career in general practice, the BMA survey of 1,844 Scottish GPs found.

Over two-thirds (69%) said workload had a negative impact on their personal commitment to their career.

Four out of five (80%) said they experienced significant levels of work related stress, although 69% of those felt it was manageable.

Nearly a third (32%) intend to retire in the next five years while 14% said they intend to move to part-time working, while over a quarter (28%) said they did not wish to change their role.

The survey was completed by two-fifths of Scotland's GPs.

Dr Andrew Buist, deputy chair of the BMA's Scottish GP committee, said: "General practice appears to be on the brink of a workforce crisis.

"The prospect of the relentless and rising workload along with the frustrations of bureaucracy is driving doctors out of the profession and putting young doctors off entering general practice.

"However, more than 50% of GPs in Scotland would recommend a career in general practice so we know that many people still see it as a thoroughly rewarding and enjoyable job, but the pressures of the day to day job are dampening that enthusiasm and leading to a burnout within the profession.

"General practice is already woefully short-staffed and unless urgent action is taken to improve recruitment and retention of GPs, patient care will be compromised and the Government's flagship integration reforms will likely fail.''

BMA is seeking a new contract for GPs to improve quality, reduce bureaucracy and provide stability.