The King’s Fund responds to GMC report on doctors changing work patterns

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On Wednesday 18 December 2019, the GMC published the state of medical education and practice 2019, which concludes that doctors are moving away from traditional career and training paths.

Commenting on the report, Suzie Bailey, Director of Leadership and Organisational Development at The King’s Fund, said:

‘Staff shortages in the NHS are creating a vicious cycle of increased pressure on doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, which in turn leads to more of them choosing to reduce their hours or leave their profession altogether.

‘Research by The King’s Fund showed that less than 3 in every 10 trainee GPs intends to work full time in general practice one year after qualifying. The intensity of the working day was the most common reason for choosing part-time work, with some GPs concerned about maintaining standards of care as they grappled with increased workloads.

‘The new government’s plans for health and care will rely on having adequately staffed services. As well as recruiting more staff, it is crucial that services hold on to and develop the staff they already employ.’

Notes to editors

The King’s Fund 2019 survey of GP trainees found that: 

  • Only 27 per cent of trainees intend to work full time in general practice one year after qualifying and only 5 per cent after 10 years (down from 31 per cent and 10 per cent in 2016).
  • The intensity of the working day remains the most common reason for choosing part-time or portfolio work (69 per cent), although family commitments (66 per cent) and interest in other work like emergency medicine or palliative care (50 per cent) were also important factors. Other NHS clinical work or medical education continue as the most common choices to combine with general practice as a portfolio career.
  • Only 41 per cent of respondents are considering GP partnership at 10 years, down from 45 per cent in 2016; the most common reasons for this are the financial implications (58 per cent) and the lack of training in business matters (47 per cent).

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The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.