DAUK’s GP Team were among the signatories to a letter published in The Observer this weekend, opposing the view that general practice’s problems could be overcome by hiring younger doctors. The letter reads:
Torsten Bell uses US data to claim that when GPs retire, the use of other emergency services rises (“Why baby boomers might end up healthier if their GPs retire early”, Comment). This in itself would be an argument to strengthen primary care in the UK. Bell then claims that new GPs are more likely to pick up a new diagnosis of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, concluding that GPs retiring can be a good thing for patients, while pointing out that it also pushes up the cost of healthcare.
We believe that GP continuity of care not only saves lives and money but also leads to longer life expectancy. The age of your GP is not the problem here. It is the absolute lack of them. The UK is facing a GP crisis that long predates the pandemic. We need to retain our GPs at all stages of their careers – but especially those with many years of experience – who are also best placed to support and mentor junior GPs and the ever-growing number of allied healthcare professionals who are being employed to try to prop up a failing system in the UK.