Workload and burnout behind new GP trends, GMC finds

17th November 2023 by NASGP

Workload and burnout behind new GP trends, GMC finds

Numbers of UK medical graduates joining the GP register fell 4% in 2022 compared with 2018 according to the GMC’s 2023 workforce report, GP Online reported.

Meanwhile, the number of IMG doctors rose by 192% during the same period, triple the number in 2018.

GP numbers rose from 61,313 in 2018 to 66,170 in 2022.

“The UK’s healthcare systems must address why general practice appears to be less attractive to UK graduates, which will require efforts to resolve the persistent issues in workloads and other indicators of burnout that GPs report,” authors wrote.

Earlier this year, data analysed by the Institute for Government (IfG) found that one in five GPs under 30 quit the profession last year.

The GMC report also found that in England, there is a slight downward trend in headcount to FTE ratio from 0.81 in September 2015 to 0.75 in April 2023, which is an 8% decrease.

“The gradually decreasing FTE to headcount in primary care in England (roughly 1% annually) suggests that, in order to maintain the current GP workforce capacity, this section of the workforce would require a corresponding increase in headcount to compensate for more doctors working less than full time,” authors wrote.

Authors also noted that the number of specialty and associate specialist (SAS) doctors and locally employed (LE) doctors rose from 48,199 in 2018 to 70,517 in 2022, overtaking GP numbers.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “The decrease in UK graduates joining the GP register is a concern, and it’s crucial that we delve deeper to understand the factors contributing to this trend as well as recognising the significant increase in IMG doctors joining our ranks, and providing the necessary support and resources for them to thrive in their roles.

“At NASGP, we continue to advocate for a working environment that is sustainable, rewarding, and conducive to high standards of patient care. We also acknowledge the need for strategic planning to increase our current workforce capacity, and continue to play our part in this. The future of general practice relies on our collective efforts, and we stand ready to face these challenges with the rest of the profession”.

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