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‘Exhausted’ doctors plan for retirement after Covid

Some doctors feeling “professionally isolated” while working from home

17 June, 2021 — By Tom Foot

GPs are “exhausted” and preparing to retire in their droves following the Covid pandemic, accord­ing to a recent report.

A General Practice “deep dive” by the North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group (NCL CCG) found that the new system of telephone and internet consultations was “an intensive way of working” that had left some doctors feeling “professionally isolated” while working from home.

There had been a “surge from pent up demand” from patients with ques­tions about blood clotting from the AstraZeneca vaccine – with one practice receiv­ing seven thousand phone calls in one week.

A survey of north London practices found 41 per cent had at least one GP planning to retire in next three years – a significant increase on the last poll.

“General practice workforce are exhausted,” a report to a NCL CCG committee said. “The last 14 months have been exceptionally difficult for staff across general practice, some of whom may have experienced personal loss as a result of Covid-19, or are finding it generally difficult to cope with the rapid changes to how they work.”

Patients have complained about the difficulty in accessing GP services during the pandemic lockdown. Referrals for conditions like cancer and lung diseases have plummeted.

The report said that online consultation system used during the pandemic had benefitted patients with access to the internet and helped GPs allocate more face-to-face time to those that did not.


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