Reading this article, I was alarmed at how the number of people per GP had fallen since 2009. I am a big supporter of the NHS and I believe it is one of the greatest advancements of our Nation and free health care should be accessibly to everyone globally. I also would like to commend the work General Practitioners do. It is one of the most popular specialisms and fundamental to providing an excellent level of care.
I was interested to find the reasons as to why the number of GPs is decreasing and the Governments propositions to try and tackle this crisis. Firstly, it seems as though the shortages are occurring because the GP specialism is not as popular to medical graduates as it previously was, 56% percent of GPs currently practicing expect to retire before the age of 60 and finally because lots of qualified individuals move abroad because people with their specialisms are quite desirable in other parts of the world. Some of the reasons as to why GPs left the profession were because of long arduous working hours as well as an ever increasing volume of consultations. Not only that but GPs often come under scrutiny in the media and their portrayal is subjective and based around very few individuals with poor practice which is often highlighted ahead of all the good clinical practice which goes on and is not formally recognized.
Pay was another issue raised by lots of health care professions and with the increasing strain on the NHS, funding towards General Practitioners and mental health institutes has diminished. Jeremey Hunt recognized this problem and added that ” Politicians across the board need to acknowledge that General Practice is not resourced correctly” In his opinion, NHS at the moment centers around large Hospitals which provide all means of care. He suggested that General Practice and out of hospital care were equally as important and underdeveloped areas of the national health service. I agree that out of hospital care is important and I’m interested how he proposes to integrate more out of hospital care in to the national health system.
Another rising issue is the number of qualified medics who chose to leave this country. The BBC estimated that ass many as 1500 left for Australia alone last year and with General Practitice becoming less and less popular with post graduates, there is real need for the government to motivate more people into the specialism.
NHS England recently announced a 10 million pound strategy to do just this. The first idea suggested is that post graduates wishing to pursue General Practise will recieve and extra year of training and unspecified financial support. How effective this will be at attracting more people to the specialism is uncertain. In my opinion, after 5 years of medical school atleast, 2 foundation years and a minimum of 6 years specialist training anyway, an extra year does not sound very appealing however financial support would be very beneficial to all of any background and class. The training would/could involve extra training in related clinical specialisms such as peadiatrics for example or to undertake an MBA or any other acadmeical goals. Being able to specialise in more than one area of medicine does sound very appealing but it will be several years before any figures can be produced to show what effect this is having.