Britain’s biggest GP body was today accused of fueling the NHS’s staffing crisis by advertising £200,000-a-year jobs abroad.
The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), which represents over 54,000 members, posts hundreds of roles on its vacancies site.
MailOnline discovered nine listings for roles in Australia, including one that tries to lure GPs with the promise of ‘sunshine all year round’.
Others offered family doctors a ‘better work-life balance’ and ‘zero admin’ — two of the biggest bugbears of British GPs. Some even came with relocation packages worth just over £11,000.
Patients rights campaigners today claimed the RCGP was helping fuel the national shortage of GPs by encouraging doctors to work overseas. They also slammed the move as hypocritical and self defeating.
The number of fully qualified full time equivalent GPs in England has decreased to 27,799 as of February 2022, down from 29,364 in September 2015
One of the ads featured on the Royal College of General Practitioners website lists positives such as ‘doubling’ of income as well as ‘world-class’ surfing beaches in an attempt to entice British GPs to quit the UK (highlighting by MailOnline)
Pictured here is Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach, Australian GP recruiters list ‘sunshine’ and sandy beaches as some of the benefits of making a move Down Under
The RCGP charges up to £1,795 for recruiters to list vacancies.
One job listing, for the Coastal Lake Medical Practice in Sydney, said that Australia was ‘like the UK minus the piles of admin and unnecessary bureaucracy’.
The practice, located an hour north of Sydney said doctors at the practice average 400,000 Australian dollars a year — the equivalent of nearly £227,000.
This is more than double the average GP salary in the UK, which sits in the region of £100,000.
The listing — which brags that the role comes with ‘no weekends, no after hours, no home visits’ — also says the successful applicant would work with a ‘friendly team of five UK-trained GPs’.
It boasts about the area’s access to ‘world-class’ surf beaches and offering a ‘relaxed and balanced routine’.
Another job in Brisbane, advertised by Head Medical, offers a salary equivalent to £250,000.
It also states that the area enjoys ‘280 days of sunshine each year’.
Propsect Health in Perth, Western Australia, is also offering a job worth up to £200,00 a year.
Its listing brags about the region’s ‘white sandy beaches’ and ‘long summers’, as well as nearby opportunities to scuba dive with dolphins.
Another listing by Prospect Health for a practice job in Canberra comes with a relocation package worth £11,333.
Dennis Reed, of Silver Voices, a campaign group for senior residents, argued that the RCGP’s hosting of the job ads was hypocritical.
‘The UK’s GP organisation should not be encouraging GPs to go work abroad to make a few pounds here and there,’ he said.
‘If GPs want to work aboard there are plenty of avenues they can explore, rather than their own professional body.’
He said GPs were free to seek any opportunity they wish.
But Mr Reed added that considering the RCGP has ‘justifiably’ campaigned to retain GPs, posting jobs that encourage them to leave the UK was counterproductive.
He told MailOnline: ‘To make that situation worse to raise a few pounds seems to me to be a self-defeating enterprise.
He also pointed to yesterday’s MailOnline analysis, which laid bare the true extent of England’s GP postcode lottery.
MailOnline analysis shows Hastings Old Surgery in Hastings has nearly 15,500 patients for every full-time GP as of February 28, the latest date official figures go up to. In contrast, Sampford Peverell Surgery in Devon has only 218 patients registered for every family doctor working at the practice. *East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which runs the Leven and Beeford Medical Practice, disputes the NHS figure. The practice actually has five times as many GPs as it reported, with another joining in May. North East London CCG, which runs the Gough Walk Surgery, also said the practice has nearly five times as many GPs as it reported to the NHS
The patient-doctor ratio across the country has jumped a quarter from 7,465 in September 2015 to 9,457 in February this year, according to NHS Digital data
Before the virus hit the UK, around eight in 10 GP appointments — only half of which are actually with family doctors — took place face-to-face. The figure plummeted to 46 per cent at the start of the pandemic as phone and video call appointments were hailed as a way to reduce the spread of Covid. But despite the easing of restriction, the proportion of consultations that are in-person has only bounced back to 61 per cent
Map shows: The proportion of GP appointments that were made face-to-face in NHS clinical commissioning groups across England in February, the latest date data is available for
Graph shows: The average number of hours worker per week by GPs in England from 2008 to 2021
The graph shows the distribution of average weekly hours worked by GPs in 2021. Overall, GPs worked an average of 38.4 hours per week, down from 40 hours in 2019 and 42.1 hours in 2008
Nearly 60% of family doctors now only work three day weeks
Nearly six in 10 GPs are working three-day weeks and a third want to retire within the next five years, figures show.
A survey of more than 2,200 family doctors in England shows 58.4 per cent are working six half-day sessions or less per week — equivalent to three days.
And 33 per cent are planning to hang up their stethoscopes by 2026, according to the research led by the University of Manchester.
The team warned that a ‘worrying’ 16 per cent of GPs — who earn around £100,000 per year — under the age of 50 were already making plans to leave the profession.
GPs highlighted problems with rising workloads, increased demands from patients and having ‘insufficient time to do the job justice’.
The poll found that paperwork was causing stress as were long working hours and dealing with ‘problem patients’.
Professor Martin Marshall, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said the figures should be a ‘wake-up call’ for the Government to take action to keep family doctors in the profession.
Some areas have more than 10,000 patients for every full-time GP.
In contrast, some practices had as little as 250 patients registered for every full-time doctor at the practice.
Mr Reed warned that the GPs in the busiest areas of England could easily fall prey to enticing offers posted on the RCGP website.
‘They are being promised through their own professional organisation a “land of milk and honey” on the other side of the world,’ he said.
The RCGP was contacted for comment.
But just yesterday the College’s chair, Professor Martin Marshall, bemoaned how GPs were looking to leave the profession.
‘GPs want to be able to provide good, safe and appropriate care for patients – that’s why we become GPs,’ he said.
‘But due to workload and workforce pressures this is becoming increasingly difficult, it is taking its toll on GPs’ health, and they are making the decision to leave the profession earlier than planned as a result.
‘More GPs are in training than ever before – but when more are leaving the profession than entering it, we are fighting a losing battle.’
A Government-backed report yesterday also warned the wait for patients to see GPs is only set to grow.
Nearly six in 10 GPs now only work three-day weeks, the research found. And a third of family doctors — who earn an average of £100,000 a year — want to retire within five years.
GPs have complained about rising workloads and paperwork, increased demands from ‘problem patients’, and having ‘insufficient time to do the job justice’. They also claim the row over a lack of face-to-face appointments has caused morale to drop.
The number of full-time equivalent family doctors in England fell from 29,363 in September 2015 to 27,920 in September 2020, with many citing increased workloads and Covid pressures for their exits.