Two-thirds of trainee GPs in England plan to work part-time, study finds

Posted: September 20th 2022


This is depressing reading bearing in mind that it is universally agreed that the biggest challenge in rural health and care, where distance from services puts a premium on the importance of primary care is staffing. The story tells us…

Almost two-thirds of trainee GPs plan to work part-time just a year after they qualify because being a family doctor is so stressful, research shows.

Their intention to work two-and-a-half or three days a week threatens to exacerbate the NHS’s already acute shortage of GPs and make it even harder for patients to get an appointment.

The King’s Fund study found that 63% of trainee GPs in England plan to work no more than six four-hour “sessions” a week one year after qualifying. Family doctors say they do not want to work any more shifts than that because their jobs are so intense and the extra work generated by seeing patients, such as referral letters, means a four-hour shift actually takes six or seven hours.

Fewer than one-third of trainees – only 31% – said they planned to undertake seven, eight or more shifts, which in general practice is regarded as working full-time. That is 10% fewer than those who said the same as recently as 2016 and is further confirmation of the pronounced and growing shift towards part-time working among family doctors.

“GP trainees tell us that half-day clinical sessions are rarely four hours and in fact are more six or seven hours once all they have seen all their patients and completed their administrative work, such as checking blood results, making referrals and following up with other [medical] professionals.

“So six half-days can be a lot more than 40 hours in practice”, said Dr Beccy Baird, a senior fellow in health policy at the health thinktank.