Our vision: to transform access to medical care.

Recruiting GPs: you need to play hide and seek

GPs are interested in what a GP is worth, but so is society, which means us, the patients.  And apparently there is a problem, because we are not recruiting enough.

Rather than debate the annual incomes or the hourly rate, you would expect me to take a contrarian view.  Let me tell you about another service in short supply, train tickets.  They cost me £79.50 one way from Leicester to London at 8.04 yet if I wait a couple of hours I can get a deal for £12.

GPs seem to think they are worth £90/hour, but that’s rubbish.  At 8am they are worth £250/hour, while by dinner time it’s about £2.50.  No one wants them.

Even in a practice with excellent all day access this is true, demand slides through the day and through the week.  Did you know that 28% of demand, nearly a third, is on Mondays?

What this means is that practices need to organise themselves carefully to match demand, which is predictable.  Sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how many still have meetings first thing.  Don’t.  Work like stink until coffee time, then a quick break, then back with patients till lunch time, only then have your meetings.  Fewer patients need you in the afternoon, and you can spread things out.

Some practices tell me they all like to come in on Thursdays, then complain two docs can’t cope on Mondays.  Der.  I’ve had managers tell me about their PMCF Saturday clinics, four GPs really struggling to occupy themselves.  “But we are trying to stimulate demand at the weekend.”  If you are near a table as you read this, please bang your head on it right now.

We can’t train or recruit doctors, so our approach to the problem is different.  Let the ones we already have be massively more productive, and profitable.

Instead of talking up a recruitment crisis, GPs should play hide and seek.  Hide the wonderful job satisfaction, complete freedom of choice where you work, how many days a week you work, how many years you work (so good are the pensions). Keep it quiet and they’ll come looking for you.

Harry Longman
Founder, Chief Executive
GP Access Ltd

PS You may remember this story in Pulse from an early GP Access customer,  “How we saved £90,000 per year”  It’s nearly three years old, and I was with Dr Kam Singh this week, going better than ever.  The growing patient list size that he, his NP and team deal with is eye watering.  If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me, but suffice to say that if every practice were run like Thurmaston, there would be no shortage of GPs.

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