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Salaried GPs: How to Balance personal need with patients’ needs 

By Bogdan Plesa

Throughout the pandemic, the Primary Care sector has been asked time and time again to adjust and to take on new aspects of care. This has led to staff being under considerable pressure to continue offering the same level of care but under new social distancing measures, while also ensuring the patients do not see a drop in the level of care provided.

Pandemic effect on GPs

Menlo Park has conducted a survey focused on the workload and other aspects of Primary Care Pre-Pandemic and post-Pandemic. One of the main find of the survey was that 72% of GPs have admitted that working through the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health. Many GPs have faced a tough decision of whether to continue working in Primary Care or leave the profession altogether.

A recent study by the Department of Health has shown that GPs have cut down on their commitments to their practices to focus on other interests, to focus on their wellbeing, or simply to dedicate more time to family life. And this is definitely supported by many conversations that I had with GP, from newly qualified to experienced former GP partners who are no longer looking for a 8 to 9 session roles, but looking for 4 to 6 sessions, therefore allowing them to provide the high level of care they would like to provide, but taking away the risk of burnout which is such a threat currently in the Primary Care sector.

New trends emerging

Studies have shown that currently, GPs are working 6.6 sessions per week as opposed to 7.5 sessions per week in 2010. At the same time, the sector has lost the equivalent of 1608 full time GPs since 2015, with recruitment efforts having little effect on plugging this gap. This has had a detrimental effect on the workload of GPs, with the number of patients per GP rising considerably in recent years, with each GP looking after 2038 patients on average. When looking at the Primary Care sector, it is understandable that GPs would like to cut down on the number of sessions they are committing.

This has seen an increase in the number of GPs changing their career track from a linear model (Salaried GP -> Partner GP) to a more diverse model, such as a Portfolio GP, where a GP takes on multiple roles which provide variety and, more importantly, a balance between work and personal life.

Through numerous conversations with GPs, having time to further their education, skills or special interests is becoming a priority for many GPs, with mostly newer GPs looking at a maximum of 6 sessions in a salaried role.

Adjusting to the circumstances

The recent trend in requirements, along with a 64% increase in the number of vacancies of Salaried GPs compared to the same period 12 months ago, has led to increased flexibility in what practices are willing to offer to candidates, with many conversations with Practice Managers showing that GPs surgeries are adjusting and changing their methods, offering flexibility in the workforce and being open to taking on more GPs to cover the same number sessions that 5 years ago would have been covered by 1 GP.

With 5 of the last 6 vacancies that I have taken on being for 6 sessions or less, it clearly shows that not only are practices struggling to find the number of GPs required for providing essential patient care, but also a diversification of the workplace, with GP practices turning towards other roles, such as Physician Associates and Nurse Practitioners.

How does Menlo Park help?

With excellent understanding of the sector and a wide network of clinicians, Menlo Park can provide excellent support through the recruitment process. From contacting all the clinicians within a commutable distance to the role, to speaking to ST3s who are about to register as GPs, Menlo Park can offer a large pool of candidates who aren’t particularly looking for a new role but would be happy to look at a new position if the right practice would come up.

Therefore, as an ambassador for the GP Practice, we would present the opportunity to GPs before they even start looking for a new role.

How can our award-winning team help you?

Are you looking for a role within Primary Care? If you would like to chat to our team about how we can help you, with your career; complete our contact form on our website and we will get straight back to you. Chat to us in complete confidence with no obligation!

Sources

https://www.gbnews.uk/news/nhs-department-of-health-data-reveals-dramatic-drop-in-gps-working-hours/139506

https://www.bma.org.uk/advice-and-support/nhs-delivery-and-workforce/pressures/pressures-in-general-practice-data-analysis

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