What Does 2018 Hold For The GP?

In a post-Brexit world, the landscape of the NHS and healthcare in England is sure to change. For better or for worse though? What changes can GPs in 2018 expect, and how will it affect their daily lives?

 

Hurdles & Opportunities For GPs in 2018

GP registers are growing, patients are becoming older and the high number of GP resignations makes the future of GP practice look worryingly uncertain.

The pressures faced by general practice are many: an increased demand for GP services, as well as an increased workload, combined with a GP shortage and inadequate funding have not made for optimal conditions in the last few years. The shortage is not going to go away overnight, and certainly the demand will only continue to increase as our population continues to age.

The government is taking note of the growing list of challenges faced within general practice, with improvements to workload (to optimise time spent with patients), as well as increased funding, just some of the measures that GPs are hoping to see implemented in 2018.

The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has sided with GPs in acknowledging that years of underfunding has inevitably resulted in many of them shutting up shop, citing workload and finance as one of the main drivers for this. The government has recognised this shortfall which has resulted in a pledge of 5000 new GPs in England by 2021.

Finance

On the plus side, the government has also promised several increases to funding for GPs in 2018. One of them being a £20,000 salary supplement called the Targeted Enhanced Recruitment Scheme, aimed at incentivising GP trainees in areas where recruitment is harder.

However, on the down side, some GPs could find themselves facing a higher tax bill, as changes made in 2016 now mean that people with an income that exceeds £150,000 will have a lower annual allowance limit.

Indemnity

The government has also recognised the rising cost of clinical negligence and appears to be making moves towards a better indemnity scheme for GP practices across the UK. This plan is still in the early stages, but it is a step in the right direction. It is hoped the new scheme will come into action in 2019, though right now, the new scheme is just for practices in England. New schemes for Wales, Scotland and Ireland are being considered. This funding is to be paid directly to practices on a per patient basis.

Patients

Patients are getting older. 18% of the UK’s patient population are aged 65 and over and 2.4% are aged over 85. This is having a profound impact on the UK’s social services, and as we continue to live longer and develop more health problems per person, being able to keep up with this demand for healthcare is going to be critical. In addition, GP surgeries are experiencing a heightened number of consultations and appointments.

Are you a GP looking for a new challenge?

Our out of hours GPs say that the cases they deal with are less repetitive than the typical daily routine of standard practice. If you’re looking for a new challenge in 2018, why not consider joining our team of out of hours GPs and start reaping the many benefits that come with it. Contact us to apply or find out more.