Crisis looming as third of Scotland’s GPs plan to retire in five years

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Scotland is facing a medical timebomb in general practice with more than a third of GPs saying they are planning to retire within the next five years.

A survey of Scottish GPs by the British Medical Association has revealed that 55 per cent of respondents said that workload had the most negative impact on their professional commitment, 21 per cent said that unresourced work being moved into general practice was the biggest negative and 13 per cent said that insufficient time with patients was the biggest negative.

More than two thirds of GPs stated that while manageable, they experience a significant amount of work-related stress although 15 per cent of participant said they feel their stress is significant and unmanageable.

One third of respondents said they are planning to retire from general practice in the next five years while 20 per cent said they are planning to move to part time.

Six per cent are planning to move abroad and six percent are planning to quit medicine altogether.

Dr Alan McDevitt, chairman of the BMA’s Scottish GP committee, said: “It’s deeply worrying that more than a third of GPs are planning on retiring in the next five years and a significant number are also planning to reduce their working hours.

“It is clear that increasing pressures on GP services are at the heart of this problem, with escalating demand having outstripped capacity. GPs are overworked and intensely frustrated that they do not have enough time to spend with their patients, especially the rising numbers of older people with multiple and complex problems who need specialised care.

“We need the government to focus on addressing the pressures facing GP services, so that we retain the current GP workforce and attract young doctors to become GPs.”