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Retiring north Norfolk doctor warns of GP ‘burn out’

PUBLISHED: 12:45 25 March 2014 | UPDATED: 12:45 25 March 2014

John Harris-Hall

John Harris-Hall

Archant

A senior doctor has warned that the NHS is facing a GP recruitment crisis because of unmanageable workloads, which has caused him to take early retirement.

John Harris-Hall, 57, who is a partner at Mundesley Medical Centre, near Cromer, has said “enough is enough” and that he had no choice but to quit the profession early.

Dr Harris-Hall has worked as a GP for 31 years, but said that increasing demand and declining funding had caused him to retire early to avoid “burn out.”

He said: “It has been a great privilege to care for patients at my practice for almost 30 years, and I am sad to retire early, but I feel there is no other choice. GPs are constantly being told by the government to do more with less. The increasing demand and workload pressures are leading to low morale and stress amongst the current workforce – causing many GPs, like myself, to consider early retirement to avoid ‘burn out’.

“If this situation continues and general practice loses even more experienced and dedicated doctors, it could lead to a serious workforce crisis where we don’t have enough GPs to treat our patients.”

Dr Harris-Hall’s warning comes as new research from the British Medical Association suggests that heavy workloads have caused almost six out of ten GPs to consider retiring early, with over a third actively planning for this decision, while three out of ten GPs are contemplating leaving general practice.

Almost all the respondents to the BMA’s poll of GPs across the UK reported that their workload was too heavy some of the time, with more than half saying their workload was unmanageable or unsustainable at all times.

Ian Hume, BMA GP representative for Norfolk, added: “GPs are listening to the demands of their patients and working innovatively to provide the service their local community want, including providing more emergency care appointments and weeknight consultations, but without more support from the government the long-term future of general practice could be threatened.

“A rising number of senior doctors are completely worn down and feel they are not sufficiently supported to provide the level of care they aspire to deliver.”

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