A study which found up to one third of GPs are planning to retire early highlights the need for governments to boost support for General Practice, AMA Federal President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said today.
The results of a survey of 178 West Australian GPs aged 45-65 years showed one third of respondents intended to retire before the age of 65. The results were published in the Medical Journal of Australia
as the AMA prepared to mark GP Week
from 20-26 July.
Survey participants cited exhaustion and burnout, increasing bureaucracy, poor job satisfaction and disillusionment with the health system or Medicare as obstacles to working in General Practice.
Dr Pesce said it would be devastating for General Practice if a similar proportion of the GP workforce in other states decided to retire early.
"General Practice is the cornerstone of our health system and patients will suffer if overwork forces GPs to retire early," Dr Pesce said.
"Most GPs love their jobs but overwork and stress - often linked to the current medical workforce shortage - is taking its toll. Doctors are also frustrated by the amount of time they are forced to spend completing paperwork instead of caring for patients."
Dr Pesce said the Government should increase GP training places and incentives for experienced GPs to take on trainees.
"Increasing the size of the medical workforce will take pressure off existing GPs," he said.
"Extra Government investment is needed to help GP practices fund the infrastructure needed to accommodate trainees. The Government also needs to look at ways of reducing the amount of Medicare-related red tape GPs are forced to deal with.
"The theme for GP Week this year is 'There is no substitute.' GPs provide comprehensive medical care to Australians of all ages. It's true: We really can't do without our GPs."