Fury over rise of the 'part-time' GP (who still earns £100,000 a year)

Fury over rise of the 'part-time' GP (who still earns £100,000 a year)
Fury over rise of the 'part-time' GP (who still earns £100,000 a year)

Fury erupted today over the rise of the 'part-time' GP, with campaigners demanding family doctors work a minimum number of hours a week in return for their taxpayer-funded training. 

Data from a Government-backed study shows the average GP — who earns around £100,000 a year — was working just 6.6 sessions each week before Covid. 

Silver Voices, a campaign group representing elderly Britons, called on ministers to take 'control' of the hours GPs are working. It can cost up to £230,000 to train up a doctor over the course of several years, but the Government makes some money back through student loan repayments.

Director of the group, Dennis Reed, said: 'If people are put through very expensive health training all that is partly provided for free, there should be an expectation that they will work a certain amount of hours.'

He blamed the drop in sessions for being one of the main reasons why patients are struggling to see their GP in the flesh. Other critics said it was 'disgraceful' doctors were earning six-figure salaries for working three-day weeks.

But GPs today hit back at the part-time accusations, which came after a grieving husband claimed his cancer-stricken wife would still be a live if a GP hadn't refused to make a home visit.

The British Medical Association, the trade union for doctors, argued the notion of a 'part-time GP is often anything but'. It said the average doctor still works 40 hours per work — just split into fewer sessions, and the current levels of workload were made worse by 'piles of admin and bureaucracy'. 

It called for family doctors to be relieved of red tape, in a move it claims would allow them to devote more time to patients.

The BMA's calls come after it was revealed GPs could be stripped of responsibilities to free up their time. Under plans being considered by ministers, pharmacists could also be given the power to dish out prescriptions. 

Face-to-face appointments have still not returned to pre-Covid levels, despite family doctors being ordered to offer them to those who still want them.

The Royal College of GPs has blamed rising a workload and falling numbers for the 'tremendous pressure' doctors are under. This has led to many burning out, working less than full-time or leaving the profession, it said.  

There is now just one practitioner for every 2,000 patients, with the rate having risen 5 per cent since 2015. In the worst-affected parts of England, the rate is nearly one in 3,000.

It comes as a grieving husband today claimed his cancer-stricken wife would still be alive if a GP hadn't refused to make a home visit.

Anton, a father-of-three from Bromley, begged a doctor to visit his 44-year-old wife who was in 'severe pain'. But a nurse was sent instead, who only checked her pulse and temperature.

By the time his wife eventually made it to hospital, it was 'too late', he told LBC in a heartbreaking interview this morning. She died three months ago after her disease had spread to her brain.  

The average number of sessions GPs works in a day have gone down over the last decade while their wage growth has gone up. In 2012 the average GP worked 7.3 sessions a week but this has now fallen to 6.6 a week, the equivalent of just over three days of work a week. In the same period the average GP income went up by more than £6,000. A GP’s daily work is divided into sessions. According to the NHS, a full-time GP works 8 sessions a week, formed of two sessions a day, generally starting at 8am and finishing at 6.30pm, though these hours can vary

The average number of sessions GPs works in a day have gone down over the last decade while their wage growth has gone up. In 2012 the average GP worked 7.3 sessions a week but this has now fallen to 6.6 a week, the equivalent of just over three days of work a week. In the same period the average GP income went up by more than £6,000. A GP's daily work is divided into sessions. According to the NHS, a full-time GP works 8 sessions a week, formed of two sessions a day, generally starting at 8am and finishing at 6.30pm, though these hours can vary

The number of GP appointments taking place face-to-face dropped dramatically at the beginning of the pandemic, as virtual appointments were encouraged in an attempt to keep social mixing low and hospitals virus-free. In-person appointments began to increase last summer, before dropping again during the second wave. Despite being on the rise, the figures are still much lower than pre-pandemic levels

The number of GP appointments taking place face-to-face dropped dramatically at the beginning of the pandemic, as virtual appointments were encouraged in an attempt to keep social mixing low and hospitals virus-free. In-person appointments began to increase last summer, before dropping again during the second wave. Despite being on the rise, the figures are still much lower than pre-pandemic levels

'My wife would've been saved if the GP had come to our home' 

A grieving husband today claimed his cancer-stricken wife would still be alive if a GP hadn't refused to make a home visit.

Anton, a father-of-three from Bromley, begged a doctor to visit his 44-year-old wife who was in 'severe pain'. But a nurse was sent instead, who only checked her pulse and temperature.

By the time his wife eventually made it to hospital, it was 'too late', he told LBC in a heartbreaking interview this morning. She died three months ago after her disease had spread to her brain.

Anton, who only gave his first name, said: 'My wife would have been saved or treated much earlier if that doctor would have paid a home visit, which I was entitled to.'

Face-to-face and home visit appointments have still not returned to pre-Covid levels, despite doctors being ordered to offer them to those who still want them.

Just 0.6 per cent of appointments in August were home visits, down from one per cent before the Covid crisis. 

Senior doctors have long called for the visits — a cornerstone of general practice for decades — to be scrapped because they are time-consuming, even in the face of warnings from campaigners that it would be disastrous for the housebound, elderly and dying.

Anton said: 'I lost my wife three months ago. 

'She had cancer. Once she developed severe pain, I called my GP and I explained to the GP and, in fact, I begged them to pay a home visit and to advise me [whether] to take her to the cancer unit straight away or not.'

But Anton revealed the GP instead sent a rapid service nurse, and claimed they only took his wife's pulse and temperature.

When his wife later collapsed, he took her to A&E.  

Tests revealed the cancer had spread to her brain. 

Details of the timeline were vague, and it is unclear how long it was between the visit from the nurse and her collapse. It is also unclear what type of cancer she had.

Anton added: 'My wife would have been saved, or treated much earlier, if that doctor would have paid a home visit, which I was entitled to.

'I checked on NHS England and it clearly said at that time doctors are supposed to make a home visit for the people who can't come to the surgery.

'But it's not happening and even today, surgeries are only trialling by phone.'

 

Advertisement

Mr Reed

read more from dailymail.....

PREV Australian Test cricketer Michael Slater is arrested over domestic violence ...
NEXT Police arrest four people over explosion that killed 'beautiful' two-year-old ...