A shortage of GPs, increasing costs and other factors are resulting in the current NHS workforce buckling under the pressure. So what is sustainable for future working?
The Royal College of GPs has identified a current shortfall of 5,000 GPs. Up to a third of them are retiring early within the next five years and some have moved abroad. General practice is facing a crisis with partnerships struggling to recruit GP partners, salaried doctors and, in many cases, even locums. Furthermore, GP training programmes are under-filled by a third in some areas of the UK.
Telephone consultations are increasingly being used as a method to manage rising demand in general practice and there has been a four-fold increase in their use over the last 20 years.