Six in ten GPs are considering an early retirement, a British Medical Association (BMA) opinion poll has found.
More than half of the GPs polled said their workload was unmanageable or unsustainable at all times, leading many to consider early retirement.
Nine out of ten GPs said that they regularly worked beyond their regular hours.
Over half of all GPs reported their morale as being “low” or “very low”.
Almost six out of ten GPs said they had considered early retirement and over a third are actively planning for this decision.
Over a quarter of GPs had said they were considering leaving the profession, while almost three out of ten had thought about leaving the profession altogether.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the BMA’s GP committee, said: “It is clear general practice is facing a workload disaster that is threatening its long term future. We are seeing morale dip to a level that I cannot remember in my twenty five years as a GP.
“The root cause of this crisis is that GP practices are facing an unprecedented combination of rising patient demand, especially from an ageing population, and declining resources. The government is also asking GP practices to provide more services, including many involving the transfer of hospital care into the community, without the resources required to successfully deliver them.
“We need politicians to realise that in order to meet the challenges facing general practice, we need to value the hard work GPs are undertaking by supporting them properly. This includes expanding the number of GPs so that patients are given the time and care that they deserve. Most importantly, the government needs to work with all healthcare professionals and patients to find practical solutions to a crisis that is threatening to overwhelm general practice.”
However, eight out of ten GPs said they were changing the way they worked to meet demand for more emergency appointments, while half said they were responding to demand for more evening appointments.
Dr Nagpaul added: “This survey demonstrates that GPs are working harder than ever before to meet the demands of their patients, as well as working innovatively to provide the service their local community want, including providing more emergency care appointments and evening consultations.”