Case study: 'We can't attract and retain GPs'

Dr Lloyd Ebden

Dr Lloyd Ebden is a full time GP partner in Swansea. He qualified from a Swansea graduate entry course after completing a mathematics degree and has been working as a partner for three years. He also teaches first year medical students and GP registrars.

Dr Ebden commented on rising indemnity costs:

'The rising cost of indemnity is making me really concerned about how we can attract new GPs into the profession. I am spending more than 10% of my salary a year on professional indemnity and when you explain that to doctors who are starting out in their careers, they think twice before becoming a GP. Many choose a job within a hospital where they have access to NHS indemnity. As we work for the NHS, we should have our indemnity covered by the NHS, as our hospital colleagues already do.

'I'm so worried about this that I contacted my previous MP, who promised to raise this with the health minister in the Welsh Assembly. I plan to do the same again with my new MP.

'Patients don't realise there is a crisis recruiting GPs, and the ones I've spoken to about this are surprised to know we pay for our own professional indemnity.

'I am not thinking of changing careers because I enjoy being a GP, but I have seriously thought about reducing my time seeing patients and increasing the time I spend teaching to reduce costs. I don't want to do this, but if it is the difference between paying my mortgage or paying my indemnity, I may have to. A number of friends went to work abroad after qualifying as a GP, and indemnity costs were a factor in their decision to leave the UK.

'I would like the government to at the very least subsidise the cost of our indemnity, to stop GPs leaving the profession. I feel frustrated that we can't attract and retain GPs because of this. A number of my colleagues are nearing retirement and like me, others are thinking of reducing the time spent seeing patients. With rising patient demand, I worry that the whole system could fall apart.'