4 out of every 10 GPs expect their practices to shut within the next 5 years, according to a survey of family doctors.
These doctors are said to be at the end of their tether, and a high number of then are considering either taking early retirement, or expect that GP services will have to be centralised to cope with a GP shortage.
20% of GPs said that they expected to have to reduce the number of appointments available for patients, and a third said that they had plans to reduce the services offered by their practice.
The survey was carried out by Pulse magazine, and found that 42% of GPs expected that their surgery would be closed within 5 years, and 13% thought that their practice would close within two. 5% are considering closing their practice within six months, mainly due to reasons such as overwork and burnout.
Deputy chairman of the BMA (British Medical Association) Dr Richard Vautrey, said that the results of the survey proved that GPs were struggling to cope with the increased demands on their services.
GPs met with the Health Secretary recently and angrily told him that they felt overworked, and that there were too few of them to cope with patient demands. The NHS has since published a five year plan which aims to ease pressure on hospital staff by pumping more funding into family doctor practices.
A very recent report also found that thousands of patients could be left without access to a GP as the number of surgeries which are hoping to shrink their catchment area has doubled within just one year. The detailed report also shows rising numbers of GP surgeries not taking on new patients, reducing their patient areas and asking existing patients to register with practices elsewhere.
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