Where a ‘part-time’ week is 38 hours: Stop blaming the GP

DAUK’s Editorial Lead Dr Ellen Welch was quoted in The Times, pointing out that the criticism levelled at the increasing numbers of so-called ‘part-time’ GPs is being made when that means an average 38-hour working week and GPs are having to see almost one-and-a-half times as many patients as the EU recommends for full-timers:

“I don’t think the general public have a grasp of what part-time working actually means in general practice. As a part-time GP I have 48 patients booked each day. This is the norm.

“UK GPs are consulting at levels way above the 25 patient contacts per day considered safe by the EU.” She said that pressures from the wider system fell on general practice, with the 6.2 million people waiting for hospital treatment coming to GPs for support.

“No other profession is routinely asked to defend their working patterns in the way GPs are,” she said. “If GPs didn’t work part time, numbers would fall even more rapidly due to burnout.”

The GP Worklife Study, reported on by The Times, has shown that government targets to recruit more GPS is unlikely to be achieved prior to 2028 at the earliest, and that more GPs were moving to ‘part-time’ work or early retirement because of the increasingly onerous workload.