Medacs Healthcare

SEP 28/2015

GPs 'must encourage others to join profession'

GPs must encourage new doctors to join the profession, according to the primary care minister. 

Alistair Burt told GPOnline that they should even persuade members of their own family to become GPs in an effort to get more people into the profession to help solve the current staff shortage. 

He said that the government was well aware of the problems GPs now face and ministers are not downplaying the scale of these issues. 

"I know that doctors will find this a bit hard, maybe," Mr Burt said, addressing the workforce crisis. 

"But it does need encouragement from those in the profession: to say that this is something they want to do."

The minister claims that the target of 5,000 new GPs by 2020 - set out by Jeremy Hunt - is enough to rectify the shortage of family doctors, despite concerns from groups such as the Royal College of General Practitioners that the figure is too low.  

Mr Burt explained that the combination of new GPs and the additional 5,000 primary care health professionals is achievable, according to those involved in the joint workforce plan. 

While he agrees that more needs to be invested in the profession, he believes family doctors must encourage people to become GPs themselves - just like his father did with him. 

"Families have a tradition of going into medicine as your readers will know very well," the minister noted.

"We need the encouragement of everyone in the profession, of the professional bodies. As well as very clear statements from people like me."

He also implored GPs to try to understand that when the government publicly praises general practice, they are not 'minimising' the problems faced by the profession.  

Mr Burt explained that it is important to be positive about the future, which is why this area of the health service is often referred to as "the bedrock of medicine in British society".

"It is not a zero-sum game," the minister added. 

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