More than 40% of GPs plan to leave general practice within the next five years, with workload being the most significant factor, according to a recent survey of GPs by the University of Warwick.
GPs are finding themselves under intense strain from working longer hours and managing more complex patient health conditions with fewer GPs to share the load and limited financial resource.
Medical professionals working more than 51 hours per week have been reported to be the most vulnerable to psychological and emotional disturbance, according to a study by the BMA. In addition, Pulse magazine found that GPs are overtired and making mistakes, due to long working days and unsafe workload.
The use of GPs time is now at a premium. Pioneering GPs are looking for innovative ways to transform the way they work, so that they can deliver ‘more with less’ for patients while improving their own working conditions.
According to a survey conducted by online doctor consultation service Push Doctor, 82% of their GPs said that working via an online platform has allowed them to take control over their time, flexibility and work/life balance.
Virtual GP consultations offer GPs an alternative way to deliver care to patients.
Dr Dan Bunstone, chief medical director at Push Doctor, said: “We need to protect the mental health and wellbeing of our doctors, if they are to be expected to deliver the highest quality patient care. Through digital health, GPs are able to plan their work around their day, and not the other way round. This helps reduce the stress triggered by long hours in surgery.”
The Push Doctor survey asked GPs what benefits are gained by working as an online GP and how this positively impacts on their work/life balance. One of the main benefits highlighted was the ability to work from home and spend more time with family, owing to the flexibility and convenience that the platform offers.
Dr Prudence Knight, an online GP at Push Doctor said: “I started looking at Push Doctor when I realised that I needed a better balance in my life. I loved the work I was doing but didn't have enough time for my family. With Push Doctor I am able to work flexible hours that suit me and have been able to adjust them as the needs of my family have changed. This has enabled me to get my work/life balance just right”