South Yorkshire GPs are being driven away from their profession due to the huge strain they are under, a leading doctor has warned.
One third of GPs in the region are considering retiring and nearly one in ten are tempted to leave the country to work elsewhere, according to worrying new figures from the British Medical Association.
Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, a partner at Crown Street Surgery in Swinton, Mexborough, said time is being wasted dealing with non-medical problems, or illnesses which people should be able to treat themselves.
Dr Kasaraneni, who is also the BMA’s spokesman in South Yorkshire, said: “A lot of my colleagues are looking to retire sooner than they would do otherwise.
“It’s that, paired with the increasing demand on the services, which causes the problem. Some demand is appropriate and some is inappropriate. We have an ageing population so they have more problems – that’s a fair increase in demand.
“The other is lack of social support for the population as a whole. We see employment problems and housing problems – these aren’t medical but if someone hasn’t got a roof over their head you have got to help them.
“You find yourself writing letters to housing agencies and for job seekers’ allowances.”
Dr Kasaraneni said he can frequently spend 45 minutes with elderly people as their problems cannot be squeezed into a 10-minute appointment.
But he said: “For me to be able to afford that time, I need a lot of other people with cold and coughs to stop getting in touch with the surgery.
“We need to educate our population a lot better about caring for themselves at home for the minor things so the elderly with chronic conditions get a lot more time with us.”
The BMA surveyed some 15,000 GPs from across the UK. The results showed 17 per cent were considering moving to part-time hours and seven per cent are contemplating working in a different industry altogether.
Dr Kasaraneni said: “What’s happening is we are pushing our workforce away. GPs are constantly criticised but the reality is we are already working at more than capacity. If the politicians don’t make a commitment to resolving this, there are other countries that would love to have UK-trained GPs.”
He said the promises made by the political parties ahead of the general election are ‘ridiculous’.
“I have to say, the promises made at this election are by far the most comical I have come across. Someone throw me a lifeline, because right now everybody is as bad as one another.
“I’m scratching my head thinking, ‘Who do I vote for?’”