Average GP works just three days a week despite six-figure salaries

The rise of the part-time GP: Average family doctor works just three-and-a-half days a week despite six-figure salaries

  • Survey found they did a total of 6.7 half-day sessions a week, lowest on record
  • Another study found most trainee GPs had no intention of pursuing it full-time
  • NHS is chronically understaffed and needs another 200,000 to make up for it 

The average GP works less than three-and-a-half days a week – and only one in 20 trainee doctors plan to do the job full-time, according to research.

A University of Manchester survey of more than 2,000 family doctors found that they did a total of 6.7 half-day sessions a week, which is the equivalent of just over three days – the lowest figure on record.

Meanwhile, separate polling carried out by the King’s Fund of over 700 trainee GPs found that most had no intention of pursuing full-time work as a family doctor.

The average GP works less than three-and-a-half days a week – and only one in 20 trainee doctors plan to do the job full-time, according to research (stock image)

It reported only 22 per cent planned to work full time as a GP within a year of completing their training.

Patients’ groups said the surge in part-time GPs is ‘terrifying’ given the acute national shortage of family doctors.

They added that GPs were fortunate to have the flexibility of part-time hours, with average earnings north of £100,000 for a GP partner, the Telegraph reported.

Questioned about their long-term career goals by the King’s Fund, just one in 20 trainees intended to be working full-time as a GP ten years after finishing training.

Most wanted to take on different jobs, either alongside their work as a GP or instead of it.

More than half of respondents said they intended to do other clinical work for the NHS, while 27 per cent desired to work privately and 20 per cent planned to work in a foreign country.

A University of Manchester survey of more than 2,000 family doctors found that they did a total of 6.7 half-day sessions a week, which is the equivalent of just over three days – the lowest figure on record (stock image)

The top three reasons for wanting to avoid full-time roles as a family doctor were the intense working days, long hours and family commitments.

Beccy Baird, senior fellow from the King’s Fund, said: ‘The biggest reason for both male and female GPs not wanting to work full time as a GP was the pressures of the working day.

‘We need to do more to address the working lives of GPs, stress is going up, they are retiring increasingly early. This isn’t about lazy GPs who earn so much that they can afford to work part-time.’


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The figures follow warnings from health officials that the NHS is chronically understaffed – and needs up to 200,000 more staff to compensate for the high numbers of younger workers who prefer part-time work. 

Joyce Robins, from Patient Concern, said: ‘GPs are incredibly well paid, and are lucky that they can afford to work part-time, but the public cannot afford the rise of the part-time GP. It costs a lot of money to train them.’

Patients’ groups said the surge in part-time GPs is ‘terrifying’ given the acute national shortage of family doctors (stock image) 

The polling of 2,195 GPs by the University of Manchester found the average family doctor now works 6.7 half-day sessions a week – the equivalent of three and a third days. This is down from 7.4 sessions in 2008, when data was first collected.

A spokesman for Health Education England said its recruitment campaign was focused on the benefits of a ‘flexible portfolio career’ and was on course to achieve its target of getting 3,250 doctors to opt to specialise as GPs this year.

The Department of Health and Social Care said it was investing an extra £2.4billion a year into general practice by 2020/21 and a record number of doctors are in training.

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