“A GP, eh? Well I guess there are worse things you could do.”
That was the only careers advice I got in my final year at medical school.
The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has previously raised awareness of bad mouthing of GPs during medical school training.
The college highlighted the fact that many consultants teaching in medical schools talk about general practice as a second-rate career option to hospital medicine and that this is one of the reasons we are short of GPs.
I’ve no doubt that bad press does nothing to improve recruitment to our ranks, but the pressures on the family doctor service, which has led to the closure of dozens of practices across the country, has also played its part in making general practice less attractive to medical graduates.
GP surgeries are not part of the NHS in the way hospitals are. Most surgeries are still small businesses. In most cases the doctors own or rent their premises, they employ and pay their own staff and have all the usual responsibilities of running a business in addition to their work as doctors.
What many patients do not realise is how much general practice is being squeezed at both ends at the moment. Income for general practice is falling in real terms year-on-year, while the costs of running a practice are spiralling out of control.
Furthermore, 90% of all patient contacts in the NHS occur in general practice and in 2017-18 we were predicted to receive 7.29% of the NHS budget – general practice is exceptionally good value for taxpayers’ money. The RCGP is currently campaigning for general practice to receive 11% of the NHS budget….read more