GPs will stay for bigger pensions and less work

18 Oct 01
GPs have increased the pressure on the government and NHS employers by threatening to hand in their notice if their new contract does not increase pensions and cut workloads.

19 October 2001

A British Medical Association survey, to which half the UK's 42,000 GPs replied, found that a half of respondents were considering leaving the profession in the next five years, while half were planning to retire before the age of 60. Two-thirds of those surveyed rated their morale as low or very low.

BMA GPs' leader John Chisholm said the contract currently being negotiated must be radically different to enable the NHS to hold on to these GPs.

'The survey shows a profession in poor heart. We need to curb the excessive demands on them and provide them with a contract that restores their faith in the future,' he added.

The survey found that increased pension incentives could head off early retirement – 28% of respondents said an enhanced pension would cause them to think again, while 27% would stay on if they could draw both a pension and a salary. Around a third said higher pay would persuade them to put off their planned retirement date.

GPs want the new contract to reduce list sizes (the number of patients per doctor) to ensure patients receive longer consultation times. Most of their pay is based on the number of patients on their list, so the new contract will almost certainly feature a different payment mechanism, probably based on the quality of work.

The NHS Confederation, which is representing the government and health service employers in the contract negotiations, said it was 'encouraged' by the survey.


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