GP survey in Suffolk highlights heavy workload and worries over recruitment as more and more plan to retire

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GPs in Suffolk are struggling with heavy and, sometimes, unmanageable workloads and it is difficult to recruit more a recent survey has found.

Completed by 93 GPs it showed many found their workload was heavy and at times unmanageable with 51 per cent of respondants saying they plan to retire in the next six to 10 years.

The doctors who completed the survey were taking part in leadership training with the Suffolk GP Federation.

But GPs were positive about working in the county and the quality of the service.

Patients have also expressed overwhelming support for their GPs with the latest GP patient satisfaction survey seeing 88 per cent of Suffolk patients rating their experiences of GPs as good or very good, higher than the national average.

Dr Neil Macey, a partner at Stowhealth, Stowmarket, who helped organise the survey, said: “What is clear is that GPs still hugely value the time spent with patients and being able to provide a continuity of care - it was the most valued aspect of the job.

“But there are some very serious concerns facing practices in Suffolk with half our GP workforce intending to retire by 2026. As GPs retire they are not being replaced and we are already experiencing difficulties. This can only get worse.”

Dr Macey said attempts to attract GPs to the county should focus on the lifestyle benefits of living here and the quality of the primary care provision. Ways of encouraging doctors to become partners should also be found.

Of those surveyed 77 per cent were GP partners, 15 per cent salaried GPs and 8 per cent GP locums.

*The Federation has launched a leadership development programme aimed to promote career development and encourage more doctors to stay in Suffolk.