Family GPs have voted to cut their working days by 2.5 hours as Britons struggle to find appointments. Doctors have voted to lobby the NHS for shorter working days at the annual conference of England’s local medical committees (LMCs). Their decision would see them open their doors and leave for home with the rest of the country, working from 9am to 5pm.
They complained on Thursday that current arrangments are “patriarchal” and don’t consider people looking after children.
During the vote, the GPs determined that the profession would need to become more appealing for working parents to plug an ongoing exodus.
The motion also sought to give serving GPs an opportunity to raise families.
Dr Paul Evans of the Gateshead and Tyneside LMC proposed Thursday’s motion, said the hours dissuaded prospective GPs.
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He told conference attendees: “I know too many GPs who have quit their partnerships [or] their salaried jobs or who are just coming out of training who are not prepared to take on a permanent role because of the hours and because they cannot see a way to make it work with childcare opening hours and with family life.
“Do you want some of their time or do you want none of their time – just little bits in locums here there and everywhere?”
Industry chiefs fear that more doctors have chosen to leave the profession than enter, creating a shortage.
Recent figures show a collapse in the number of full-time GPs, with the fifth monthly year-on-year drop.
And the Royal College of General Practitioners has warned that up to 19,000 doctors could leave in the next five years.
The college cited job pressures in its reasoning, warning in June that the exodus would happen “if steps are not taken to address intense workload and workforce pressures”.
Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “The intensity and complexity of our workload is escalating whilst numbers of fully qualified, full-time GPs are falling.
“The College has been sounding alarm bells about the intense pressures GPs and our teams are working under, and the urgent need for support, since well before the pandemic, but covid has only exacerbated the situation.”