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What Are The GP Issues That Need To Be Addressed Today?

One of the biggest challenges for GPs today is finding the future path for succession.

There is to be an acknowledgement that much of the future is down to finding those who can fill a GPs shoes, plus finding the best balance of staff for the immediate future.

The tables have certainly turned where the GP role once had a huge place in society alongside the lawyer, vicar and even land agent. Societies values are changing. Does this mean the role of the surgery today represents a commodity driven product?

The Figures

Recent stats from earlier this years, highlights a changing (and challenging) landscape.

From BBC’s Inside Out programme and survey of 1,004 GPs, around 22,400 GPs, which is more than half of England’s family doctors – want to retire before they reach the age of 60.

Even more concerning is the fact that there were 27% of GPs who cited the number of consultations as the reason why fewer medical students and foundation doctors are making a decision to specialise in general practice. To many this is now being seen as an ‘unglamorous’ career.

A poll of 15, 560 GPs by the British Medical Association (BMA) identified that 34% intend to stop working by 2020.

The facts are there, we are going to have a shortage of GPs.

The Risks

Why should practices expect to sign 20-year leases to take ownership of a premises and put their own livelihood on the line? If they don’t have a high probability of another GP to take over their position for when they want to retire, it can become a extremely stressful situation. Finding someone else to step into your shoes for the remainder of a lease can becoming a time intensive process. There needs a direction and a degree of planning to allow structure.

The profession is trying to find a new structure that the NHS will work with. GPs can work with and give flexibility and sustainability if they attract a high calibre of individual to deliver quality primary care to the community they serve.

Creating The Right Team

If succession becomes a longer-term goal, the immediate priority is to ensure that the right people can stand beside the vision of a GP.

Take for instance, the practice manager.

The role of the practice manager is increasingly growing in importance. Today this is a highly qualified administration role. It’s not about managing systems and facilities, it is far more reaching. The practice manager role is now becoming focused on making a building more profitable to deliver the GP services.

A GP has to have the right people on their side. This is not about someone to make sure the doors are open at 8.30am, but the role of the staff within the surgery to play a key role as part of a business function. The right people can identify where the profit centres are and to leave the GPs to continue where their initial focus was, the practice of doctoring patients to the best of their abilities.

The issues today are far deeper than knee jerk reactions and short-term priorities.

This is about building a team who support a future vision and ensuring that it is reached.

This all starts with a conversation. When it comes to planning and succession, it’s time to have that dialogue now. Call Jon on 01202 744990 or email jon@charleshiggins.co.uk so we can understand where your future fits.

Image at the top article courtesy of Flickr



“To end my working days in such a place considering that 31 years ago when I started we worked from two very small rooms. It’s been magnificent.”

Dr Geoff Walder, Retired Senior Partner, Lilliput Surgery, Sandbanks

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© 2013 Charles Higgins