On 29 May, NHS England announced a new £10 m fund; £7m to support and retain GPs to be made available through regional-based schemes to promote new ways of working and by offering additional support through a new Local GP Retention Fund; and a further £3 million to establish seven intensive support sites across the country in areas that have struggled most to retain GPs.
This is the latest in a series of initiatives aimed at improving patient care by improving GPs quality of work life including: The GP Retention Scheme and The GP Health Service which were launched in 2017.
These initiatives are part of a program aimed to recruit 2,000 GPs by 2020.
This comes at a time when government funded research (reported in the Guardian) undertaken in late 2017 revealed that two in every five GPs in England intend to quit within the next five years.
The five biggest sources of stress for GPs were increasing workloads (92.3%), having too little time to do justice to the job (85.3%), paperwork (82.6%), changes to meet requirements from external bodies (81.1%) and increased demand from patients (85.8%).
Long hours are common for GPs. The survey found almost two-thirds (64%) work at least 40 hours a week and one in five work 60 or more hours.
In response to NHS England's announcement, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the RCGP, said: "Today’s measures are really welcome...We hope these plans are just the start of more initiatives that tackle escalating GP workload, and that they are implemented with as little red tape as possible. We also want to see more options and greater flexibility for experienced GPs, particularly those who might be considering leaving the profession, so that our patients can continue to benefit from their expert skills – and newer GPs can continue to learn from them.”
GP numbers are actually falling, and many hard-working GPs are simply burnt-out and exhausted