DAUK in GP Online: poor pay and inadequate PPE leaves UK facing ‘mass exodus’ of GPs after pandemic

Around 80% of 474 GPs who answered a poll by pressure group Doctors Association UK (DAUK) said they were ‘more likely’ to leave the NHS following the pandemic – 19% said their decision to leave or stay had not been affected.

Over three quarters of family doctors said the lack of a real-terms pay rise had forced them to consider their futures, while 71% said insufficient PPE was influencing their desire to quit.

More than 40% of respondents said the impact of the pandemic on their personal mental health had led them to consider leaving.

GP workforce

The findings – which come a week after the BMA found that one in six GPs plan to quit the NHS or retire early once the pandemic dies down – reflect a growing sense of frustration among GPs, who are contending with a growing workload and burnout.

DAUK leaders have warned that GPs must be given the support they need ahead of what is likely to be an especially tough winter. They have argued safeguards must be in place to protect practitioners’ physical and mental wellbeing.

The survey – completed by a total of 1,758 doctors, including consultants and junior doctors – found that 17% of GPs were considering leaving clinical medicine in the next one to three years.

One in five GPs said they were considering quitting the NHS to pursue medicine abroad, while 10% said they would be retiring.

Real-terms pay

Commenting on the results, Dr Sophie Rowlands – a GP on the DAUK’s GP advisory board – said: ‘GPs have been left feeling undervalued and unprotected during the current pandemic, with over three quarters of those surveyed stating that they are more likely to leave the NHS as a result.

‘The ongoing real-terms pay erosion along with issues obtaining PPE has severely dented morale. Mixed messaging from the government, and constantly changing advice has not helped.

‘Moving forward into what is likely to be a tough winter, it is vitally important that GPs have the support needed to continue providing excellent care for patients, as well as having safeguards in place for their own physical and mental wellbeing.’

Dr Rowlands, added: ‘Without recognition and support, we are likely to face a mass exodus of GPs post pandemic, with many already looking to leave clinical medicine or move overseas in the next three years.’

Read the full article in GP Online.