SEVERAL disillusioned GPs are considering a career change due to increased workloads and Government targets, it has been claimed.

A leading Somerset doctor says many are frustrated at increasing emphasis on targets rather than face-to-face patient care, meaning it will be harder to see your chosen doctor when you want to.

A Local Medical Committee survey in the South-West attracted responses from 2,700 out of 6,000 GPs and showed:

  • 67% said their practices would struggle to remain viable;
  • 93% said working days are getting longer;
  • 96% believe the intensity of their work has increased;
  • 94% reckon their work is more complex;
  • 48% are considering switching careers or some form of retirement;
  • 84% say their workload won’t be sustainable with red-uctions in resources to practices from April.

Somerset LMC chairman Dr Sue Roberts said the problem has been created by a Govern-ment “tick box culture” where targets reduce patient contact.

She said: “They’re asking us to do lots more work in addition to what we’re already doing.

“GPs are already at capacity and our workload has increased year-on- year.

“Introducing targets and measurements ignores the personal care practices give patients.

“I’m not dealing with virtual patients – I want to deal with a patient sitting with me in the consulting room.

“Patients are waiting longer to see their chosen GP and it’s going to get worse.

“Some GPs are looking to go early, maybe doing some locum work or leaving GP practice and working in a completely different area.”

The Department of Health denies that patient care will suffer.

A spokesman said: “In the new health and care system people will have more say about the care they receive, and doctors, nurses and other health and care professionals will have more freedom to shape services to meet people’s needs.”