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A quarter of trainee GPs want to work as stand-ins

 
  • A quarter of trainee GPs intend to shun a full-time job in the NHS by becoming locums
  • They are put off permanent posts by the long hours and intense workload
  • Warwick University research found many planning to take a career break
  • Each GP costs the taxpayer £500,000 to train, including fes and living costs 

Sophie Borland Health Editor For The Daily Mail

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A quarter of trainee GPs are intending to shun a full-time job in the NHS by becoming locums, research has found.

Many have been put off taking permanent posts by the long hours and intense workload and will instead seek the flexibility of working as stand-in doctors.

The study by Warwick University found that only two-thirds planned to work as GPs six months after they finished training. The remainder were intending to take a career break, move abroad or quit working for the NHS altogether.

A quarter of trainee GPs are intending to shun a full-time job in the NHS by becoming locums, research bY Warwick University has found

A quarter of trainee GPs are intending to shun a full-time job in the NHS by becoming locums, research bY Warwick University has found

A quarter of trainee GPs are intending to shun a full-time job in the NHS by becoming locums, research bY Warwick University has found

The research questioned 178 doctors in the West Midlands who were nearing the end of their three-year GP vocational training and found that 23 per cent were intending to be locums. Such GPs are self-employed and often earn more money per hour than their permanent colleagues.

But there is some evidence they are less safe than other doctors as they do not know the patients sitting in front of them.

Each GP costs the taxpayer about £500,000 to train, including tuition fees and living expenses. The training usually lasts ten years, covering five years of medical school, two years on wards and three years of specialist learning.

GP surgeries are already in the grip of a severe recruitment crisis and the findings from this research suggest the problem will only get worse

GP surgeries are already in the grip of a severe recruitment crisis and the findings from this research suggest the problem will only get worse

GP surgeries are already in the grip of a severe recruitment crisis and the findings from this research suggest the problem will only get worse

Professor Jeremy Dale, from the University of Warwick Medical School, said many trainees had been deterred by the low morale among GPs. Some 52 per cent said they had been put off by the negative image of GPs among politicians, the media and their own lecturers. And 54 per cent said they had struggled to achieve a work-life balance during training.

Professor Dale said: ‘The study highlighted a number of potentially modifiable factors related to GP training programmes that are detrimentally influencing the career plans of newly-trained GPs.

‘Many of these relate to how general practice had been experienced, and in particular perceptions about workload pressure and morale within practice placements.

‘The negative portrayal of general practice by politicians and the media was experienced as having had a detrimental effect on personal career intentions.’

One anonymous trainee said: ‘The busy workload has put me off from partnership [working as a senior doctor]. That’s why I want to do locums, be flexible.’

Another said lecturers at his medical school had described general practice as a ‘second-class career’.

GP surgeries are already in the grip of a severe recruitment crisis and the findings from this research suggest the problem will only get worse.

There are now just 29,122 full-time family doctors, the lowest number since 2005.

Ministers have promised to hire an extra 5,000 GPs by 2020 with the intention of offering all patients weekend and evening appointments. But this target is looking increasingly unreachable. 

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