GPs are dealing with an average of 37 patients and working 11-hour days, Pulse’s new survey of 1,400 GPs reveals.
GPs said 69% of patients were either ‘very’ (29%) or ‘fairly’ (40%) complex, and consultation time is now ‘significantly’ (24%) or ‘slightly’ (31%) longer than before the pandemic.
The survey, conducted on 1 March 2021, found GPs were seeing way over the ‘safe’ 28-patient limit. Some 49% of GPs said that the day’s workload had been at an unsafe level.
Unsurprisingly the survey also found 40% of GPs faced more complaints – 24% ‘slightly’ and 16% ‘significantly’.
BMA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘While [GPs] have gone the extra mile for their patients throughout the pandemic, there is only so far they can stretch themselves before they reach breaking point.’
NASGP chair Dr Richard Fieldhouse said: “We went into this pandemic knowing that there was a GP shortage and, thanks to this very timely Pulse survey, we can see that that shortage is going to have a significant impact on how we move forward as a profession.
“Even during lockdown, NASGP has experienced four months in a row of record-breaking bookings on our members’ locum software platform, LocumDeck.
“So, together with the inevitable GP burnout that we can foresee from Pulse’s survey – which only strengthens the data from previous BMA surveys – GPs will be making difficult career choices to protect themselves going forward. This existing workforce crisis is only going to get worse, probably significantly so.
“We hope that those responsible for a national workforce strategy have learnt from the mistakes of previous strategies and instead take a much more intuitive approach.”
GP locums can share availability to local practices on LocumDeck.