Easy solution to this

More than half of family doctors say they are set to leave the profession early because of underfunding and the conveyer-belt system of appointments, according to a new survey.

The survey of 1,004 GPs across the UK, for the BBC’s Inside Out programme, found that 56 per cent said they expect to retire or leave before they are 60.

Insist that their pensionable age is 70.

23 thoughts on “Easy solution to this”

  1. Oh that’s just charming Tim. Force them, through state power, to work in a way they dislike, then punish them for leaving?

  2. I don’t get my pension until I’m 65. In the meantime I get to work the way my employer wants me to; not the way I want.
    You want charming? Then go and work for the Cuban health service you keep eulogising.

  3. One student at Imperial Medical School, Mitul Patel, told the programme: “The thought of a career that involves a lot of these frustrations puts you off … The work is so stressful it’s putting current and prospective GP trainees off.”

    Don’t they say a similar thing about working in A&E? The pay is marvellous but do we really have to work so hard for our money? Like as not half of those studying to be a GP are women, and fifty percent of these will doubtless work part time.

    And anyway if we were in line for a similar pension we too would (probably) retire before 60.

  4. Even easier, I would have thought, is to make them pay the full whack for their training, then they can do as they please.

  5. estimates suggest that it costs more than quarter of a million pounds to get a student through medical school

    Why the effing heck does it cost a quarter of a million pounds to train a GP in Britain, when Cuba can churn them out for pennies?

  6. and the conveyer-belt system of appointments

    What the fuck did they think the job entailed? Playing golf every other afternoon? Seeing patients, one after another, is their job, no?

    This reminds me of a skip driver I came across when I was working on a building site in Manchester years ago. He was complaining about how many skips he had to collect and drive around. I often wonder what he thought the job entailed.

  7. The Meissen Bison

    Ironman: I don’t get my pension until I’m 65

    If you mean the one from the state, you might be disappointed there: pension age seems to retreat as you advance towards it.

  8. Cunningly the BMA arranged things so that GPs are, as the Welsh Nutter says, self employed businesses selling services to the NHS, but that they also get a low cost final salary pension from their client.

    Has anyone ever heard of a private sector scheme like that?

    It sounds rather like a tax dodge to me.

  9. There are an awful lot of crap GPs. Imagine how bad they will be if they have to work until 70. Get rid of the part-timers, cut back on the paper work and replace the GMC with a body which protects the patients not the doctors.

  10. The interaction of their absurdly high salaries (thanks to the Loathsome Wee Twat) and the Lifetime Allowance for pensions may mean that many will take a twenty-four hour retirement, and bounce back to work if they still have an appetite for it. I suppose some will be careful to return part-time, so that their salary plus earnings don’t take them into the 60% tax band at £100k – £120k.

    The increase in bureaucracy and managerialism may well destroy their appetite for the job, but that phenomenon is far more widespread in the British economy: nothing special about GPs there.

  11. The question surely is “what does their contract say?” If the contract says they have the option of early retirement , the state can’t “insist” on shit.

  12. If you have private health insurance (or can afford private health without insurance), and your insurer requires a letter or a form filled out by your NHS doctor (not usually GPs, but you might well need a referral letter from a hospital after a visit to A&E, say), many NHS doctors have taken to charging money for the service of filling out that form or printing out that letter. Serious charges, too: I was asked for £40 for a doctor to tick a couple of boxes. (I seem to remember it’s been ruled illegal for banks to charge that much money for writing a letter, but hey.) One might think this is a tad unreasonable, given that your going private saves the NHS having to do the work and so saves them time and money, but a doctor justified the charge to me thus (and I’ve seen it repeated elsewhere): By going private, you are providing demand for private health. The increase in demand leads to more doctors working privately. When a doctor is working privately, they are not working for the NHS. That doctor was probably trained by the NHS. Since the NHS trained the doctor, the NHS are entitled to all that doctor’s work. Therefore, going private is equivalent to stealing a doctor from the NHS. Therefore patients should be charged through the nose by the NHS whenever they try to go private, to “recuperate” their “costs”.

    Now, this logic came from doctors, so they can hardly argue with it. Is there some reason why it wouldn’t apply to a doctor retiring early? ’cause, as far as I can see, it’s the same damn thing.

  13. Single-payer legal care. Whatever regulations we put on doctors we should put on solicitors/barristers too. Of course, they tend to go into politics more than doctors, so that isn’t going to happen

  14. Mr Black,

    “Oh that’s just charming Tim. Force them, through state power, to work in a way they dislike, then punish them for leaving?”

    They get a limited number of competitors as a result of threats of violence from the state. Why shouldn’t they pay for that privilege?

  15. I like the way the elephant in the room is studiously ignored, in this article and on the BBC website too (obviously), namely that as the percentage of women GPs grows, the shortages of GPs are increasing, due to the their far greater propensity to leave the profession early, or to work part time. And that this problem will only get considerably worse as woman are now the majority of students studying medicine.

    What passes for modern public discourse disgusts me nowadays – its a case of just saying things that are utterly unrelated to the facts, and ignoring reality entirely.

  16. Think you can bully GPs. Try it. They can tap into and influence female population. The politicians are not likely to upset them.
    The GPs can go slow.
    They can migrate.
    But above all they can become some non GP in the future. It is not a doddle becoming a GP.Try it.

  17. @ john malpas
    Forty or fifty years ago you had a really hard time training to be a GP which included working 70 hours a week as a junior hospital doctor and once you qualified you took turns to be on casll at any hoiur of the night/weekends (I think my GP practice had surgeries on Saturdays for the men who worked Monday-to-Friday and couldn’t/didn’t want to take time off work). Now junior hospital doctors are not allowed to work more than 48 hours and female GPs work 9-5, five days a week, with time off to look after kids. I was at school with the younger son of our female doctor – he was completely house-trained to look after himself because his mother was too busy to look after him once he was 5 – there would be an outcry today if someone asked a female GP to do that (although one or two do).

  18. The Government plan for a certain amount of Doctors.
    They contract the training out to Medical Schools.
    They use monopoly power to stop entry into the industry.
    Result high wages and this crisis.
    Solution – free the market. Allow new Medical training bodies to start and to provide more medical professionals.
    The only function that Government MIGHT be needed for is to certify the training schools standards.
    Result more people will enter the profession and the numbers will find an equilibrium.

  19. Fred,

    > Result more people will enter the profession

    I’m not sure about this. I agree with your reasoning and approve of the idea, but the NHS has another problem affecting recruitment and that is the workplace itself. Most people go to hospital occasionally when they’re kids. In many countries — and in Britain in times past — it was quite normal for doctors and nurses to join the profession because of the treatment they received themselves. How many are likely to feel that way now, after a visit to an NHS hospital? How many British kids will have fond enough memories of their hospital stay to think of it as a desirable future workplace? Why are we having to recruit so many from overseas? Because they haven’t seen what they’re getting into.

  20. Insist that their pensionable age is 70
    You mean the state should renege on its contractual obligations Tim? I thought you were against that sort of thing.

    However, there’s a new NHS pension scheme being introduced in April, under which the pensionable age for all future contributions is set equal to the state retirement age.

    Why are we having to recruit so many from overseas?
    Because medical improvements make more and more diagnostic procedures and treatments possible, so we need more and more doctors to prescribe them and carry them out.

    There are now about 2.7 doctors per thousand people in the UK, compared with 1.3 in 1980. And this has got little to do with the funding model: in France the number has gone from 1.9 to 3.2.

  21. Squander – I agree with your assessment of the NHS hospitals however there are, IIRC, significant surpluses of medical school applicants. This suggests that the wages are above market clearing. Now we can either allow more med students increasing supply and pushing down wages OR we can increase the cost of medical studies to the students to allow the costs to be borne by the people who gain the benefit and reducing the demand for medical studies.

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