Understanding the GP Workforce challenge: Canvassing the perspectives of South West GPs
From November 2014 until April 2015, the University of Exeter Medical School conducted research – part-funded by the SW AHSN, to explore the present challenges facing the NHS in light of potential GP workforce shortages.
The findings from the ReGROUP (Retaining the experienced GP workforce in Direct Patient Care) research project sparked interest in the national picture of the GP workforce, which then led to the University of Exeter Medical School receiving national funding to roll the project out on a national scale.
The project, which will be led by the University of Exeter Medical School and the University of Bristol aims to understand why some GPs are quitting direct patient care through taking early retirement or career breaks. The research will help to develop strategies and policies for the NHS in seeking to support the GP workforce.
The UK is facing major challenges in sustaining the GP workforce in the next few years:
– Fewer medical students and junior doctors are opting for a career in general practice.
– Some experienced doctors are considering taking early retirement or a career break within the next five years.
– A significant proportion of doctors taking a career break are not returning to the workforce, or are returning part-time.
– The ageing general population has increasingly complex health needs, placing additional demands on GP time.
There is an urgent need for the NHS to better understand the reasons behind the loss of both experienced GPs and those taking a career break. This is important because it takes at least 10 years to train a GP, and recruiting sufficient numbers of trained GPs will not adequately fill the shortfall. Knowing what support the current GP workforce wants and needs and exploring how this might be delivered, is therefore crucial. More GPs is not an immediate solution; understanding how we can support the workforce is essential.
In April, a short workforce survey will be sent by post and by email to all GPs in the South West. The survey is supported by NHS England and completion is welcome by post or online.
Please complete and return the survey and support this important study seeking to better understand the challenges facing GP workforce planning. The survey will be open to complete until WC 30 May 2016.
For further information, please contact: Emily Fletcher (Project Manager) on email@example.com