GP The challenges with general practice recruitment and retention are nothing new. Here is some data from 2017 in the form of an infographic. There were over 300 million consultations a year in general practice, compared to 31 million in the rest of the NHS. If one thinks of demand as water and general practice as a dam then cracks are appearing.
GP recruitment data
This is data from 2017 using Health Education England workforce data. There is a lead time of approximately 10 years from going to medical school to becoming a GP. Approximately 5-6 years of university and 5 years of post-graduate training. There are more people leaving the profession and 54% of GPs are considering leaving in the near future. GP recruitment is in crisis.
Those who remain in post are under pressure where 85% of the workforce feel the workforce is in crisis and 36% want to reduce their clinical commitments.
Why is General practice important?
GP recruitment is important because general practice is the bedrock of the NHS and is responsible for over 300 million appointments, over 90% of all appointments in the NHS. One of the reasons that the NHS model works so well when compared to other countries is the professionalism and role of primary care which is a cost-effective way of delivering care and supporting health inequalities. This involves not only the management of acute illness but also increasingly chronic disease management in the community and health prevention work such as childhood immunisations.
Sadly there is no obvious solution in sight, for GP recruitment, even when looking at more recent data from 2022. If anything the COVID pandemic and cost of living crisis has added to the pressures on general practice and had a knock on negative impact on recruitment and retention.
We need to understand the reasons behind this and test ways to improve the recruitment and retention of gps. We share our practice experiences and thoughts on this website.