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GPs will not work full time in the future, chief doctor says

Research indicated the often heavy workload of a GP could not be carried out efficiently on a full-time basis Credit: PA

General practitioners will not work full-time in the future, according to the new head of the national doctors' body.

The King's Fund recently released data showing only one in 20 trainee GPs planned to work full-time within 10 years of qualifying and most planned to work between one-and-a-half and three days a week.

The research indicated the often heavy workload of a GP could not be carried out efficiently on a full-time basis, the new chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, Professor Martin Marshall, told The Daily Telegraph.

"The idea that we can see 50, 60, 70 patients a day, five days a week, is crazy," he said.

Prof. Marshall pointed to the effects of significant workloads on medical professionals.

"It is difficult to be as sharp on your 50th patient of the day, or [checking] your 200th blood test," he said.

"Each one involves a clinical decision, it carries a risk, which is an innately stressful decision to make; it carries a degree of anxiety that you might make a mistake or misdiagnosis. Decisions can be life or death."

Promises from the Conservatives and Labour of more GPs were worthless if doctors were choosing not to work full-time, Prof Marshall said, as he urged patients to consider whether they actually needed to visit a doctor.