Workforce challenges and solutions – two colleagues in discussion

What are the workforce challenges?

Many GPs in the UK quit patient care. This can be related to four high-level job-related ‘push’ factors:

  • dissatisfaction
  • workload
  • job-related stress
  • work-life balance.

But many other specific factors at personal, practice or regional or national level affect individual GPs:

Factors not isolated or static:

  • Cumulative or relative to career expectations
  • Trade-offs take place
  • Complex: e.g. working part-time to enhance/protect competence and enjoyment of working as a GP
Qualitative interviews with GPs said that in order to retain GPs the following needs to happen:

  • Increase the perceived value and clarify the identity of general practice
  • Reduce the levels of fear and risk that GPs experience
  • Provide GPs with feasible and acceptable routes to remaining in direct patient care.

Building and looking after the workforce: Educations to deal with complexity and deprivation

Dr Hilary Neve

Retaining the experienced GP workforce in direct patient care (ReGroup)

Professor John Campbell

Workforce challenges

Dr Andrew Eynon-Lewis


Speaker biographies

Dr Hilary Neve, GP and Professor of Medical Education, University of Plymouth

Dr Hilary Neve is Professor of Medical Education at the University of Plymouth, a National Teaching Fellow and a GP at Adelaide and St Levan Surgeries, Plymouth. Her interests include addressing inequalities in health and developing approaches to prepare students to work with complexity, uncertainty and multi-morbidity. She has a particular interest in the 'hidden curriculum' – how we can tackle career stereotyping and challenge student perceptions of general practice and inner city working.

Professor John Campbell, University of Exeter Medical School

Prior to appointment as Foundation Professor of General Practice and Primary Care in Peninsula Medical School (Universities of Exeter and Plymouth), John was a senior clinical lecturer at King’s College London, and previously lecturer in Edinburgh. In his academic role, John led the development of Academic Primary Care in the South West Peninsula between 2002 and 2013. His personal research interests focus on improving access and patient experience of Primary Care, Quality Assessment of Clinical Medicine (including an academic interest in multisource feedback within the context of revalidation of all UK doctors), Cardiovascular Risk Assessment and mitigation, in particular with studies focusing on inter-arm difference in blood pressure and early Diabetes, and provision of mental health care for patients in Primary care settings.

John is Director of APEX, the University of Exeter Collaboration for Academic Primary Care. John has held national academic roles in respect of the UK National Institute of Health and Care Research Trainees Coordinating Centre (member of Doctoral and Clinician Scientist Awards Panels), UK National Institute of Health and Care Research Health Services and Delivery Research Board (member), the South West Regional Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards for Senior Doctors, and recent Chair, UK Heads of Departments Group (Society for Academic Primary Care). John is a fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners, and obtained his doctorate in 1998 (MD) ‘The Accessibility of UK Primary Medical Care: Problems, Practice and Potential’. He has published around 260 papers in major academic journals.

Dr Andrew Eynon-Lewis, BSc, MSc (Med Educ), M.B., B.S., FRCGP, DCH, DRCOG, Head of Primary and Community Care, Health Education South West

Andrew qualified from Charing Cross Hospital, University of London in 1983, he completed his GP training at Torbay Hospital and was appointed partner at the Dartmouth Medical Practice in February 1989. He jointly held the RCGP Audit Fellowship 1991–94, was secretary of the RCGP Tamar Faculty 1998–2001 and has worked as an NHS Appraiser and Academic Tutor at the Peninsula Medical School. He was awarded Fellowship by Assessment of performance (FBA) in 1996, the year in which he also became a trainer. From being a trainer, Andrew further developed his commitment to medical education by becoming a Training Programme Director in Plymouth in 2000 and then Associate Postgraduate Dean in 2006. He completed his MSc in Medical Education in 2008 and was appointed Head of Primary and Community Education in Health Education England working across the South West in 2016. In this role Andrew is responsible for increasing the capacity and capability of the primary care workforce. Andrew continues to work in clinical practice as a partner in Dartmouth.

New professionals in primary care

Clinical pharmacy
Michael Lennox, Head of Pharmacy Service Development, Livewell South West.

Community pharmacy
David Bearman Devon Local Pharmaceutical Committee Chairman, Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Professional Network Lead .

Physician associates
Dr Nick Cooper, Associate Professor in Clinical Education, University of Plymouth.

Clinical/advanced practitioners
Paula Fenton, Practice Nurse, Adelaide Street Surgery.

Mental health 
Olivia Craig, CEO and Paula Hole, Senior Mental Health Practitioner, Plymouth MIND.

Benefits workers
Rebecca Ellis, Physical Disability Support Worker, Improving Lives Plymouth.  

Community engagement and health improvement 
Mags Truman, Chief Operating Officer, Well Connected.

Devon Nursing Strategy
Vanessa Crossey, Head of Nursing and Quality, NEW Devon CCG and Sarah Hall, Practice Nurse Lead, South Devon and Torbay CCG/NEW Devon CCG.

Video support for self care 
Dr Matthew Halkes, Director of Education, Torbay Hospital, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust .

Primary care practitioner wellbeing
Dr Andy Tresidder, GP and SW Clinical Lead for GP Health.