The NHS crisis: family doctors retire early, and patients wait for up to 13 days

For the last 5 years before the age of 60 years, 4000 family doctors have retired, that is, one of 10 representatives of the profession. And the blame is the reduction of wages and the huge workload at work.

The crisis with family doctors worsens the already difficult situation with the National Health System of Great Britain (NHS). In 2016/17, before the time (up to 60 years), 784 family doctors retired, compared with 384 in 2009/10. In general, over the last 5 years, under the age of 60 years, 4000 family doctors have left to retire, that is, one of 10 representatives of the profession. In turn, the decrease in the number of doctors increases the burden on the remaining specialists and leads to huge queues, when patients have to wait about 13 days, that is, 3 days longer than in 2015.

However, experts believe that the situation may worsen and patients will wait for reception for 3 weeks. This is a huge blow to Prime Minister Theresa May, who promised to increase the number of family doctors by 5,000 specialists by 2020 (during the campaign of 2015) in order to cope with the growing loan. However, since then, the number of practitioners has only declined.

During the 2015 election campaign, representatives of the Conservative Party promised to increase the number of family doctors to 5,000 by 2020. Minister of Health Jeremy Hunt confirmed this intention after the elections. However, since statistics show, the total number of family doctors fell from 34592 in 2015 to 33872 at the end of 2017. Theresa May continues to assert that for today "there are more educational institutions for family doctors than ever", but it is unclear whether all these places are filled. The National Audit Office and the analytic organization King's Fund expressed doubts that the figure of 5,000 could be achieved, given the growing number of physicians who move on a part-time basis or quit at all.

According to the Royal College of General Practitioners, in 2016/17, more than 80 million cases were recorded, when sick patients had to wait more than a week for a doctor. It is expected that by 2021/22 years this figure will increase to 102 million. The worst situation with queues for doctors was noted in Corby (36%), Farham (Fareham), Gosport (34%) and Swindon (Swindon ) (31%).

In addition, since 2008, the salaries of family doctors have fallen by 11%.

Dr. Richard Vautrey, chairman of the General Practitioners Committee, said: "We are very concerned that we are losing so many highly qualified and experienced family doctors, but for an increasing number of specialists, reducing the working hours or completely giving up the profession is the only way respond to unsafe working conditions and increasing workload. The national survey of Pulse magazine showed that on average, one family doctor receives 41.5 patients a day, some of them examine 70 patients, which is three times the maximum when the norm is 25 patients (norms according to European standards)".

The average age of physicians who decided to retire fell from 60.4 years in 2011/12 to 58.5 years in 2016/17. Many quit because of the not very bright prospects of a secure life in retirement. Recently published official data showed that now in Britain 41% - about 10 thousand - doctors aged 50 and older work, and they want to leave work during the next 5-10 years. Only 8% of family doctors are now under the age of 30 years, and in some regions of England (as an administrative and political part of the UK) their proportion is very low - only 0.5%.

The Minister of Health of the Shadow Cabinet, Jon Ashworth, said: "Financing of family doctors has decreased significantly, now they receive only a small fraction of the money that goes into financing health services. We urgently need a long-term investment plan for the National Health Service. We cannot make patients wait even longer."

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