One in ten GPs reaching retirement age – The Post

One in ten GPs reaching retirement age

Denmark could see a severe shortage of doctors in the near future if all the ones hitting 65 decide to call it a day

‘Carry on Doctor’ is now a heartfelt plea as well as the title of a venerable British comedy (photo: Edwintp)
April 8th, 2019 2:30 pm| by Stephen Gadd

Drastic measures are called for if people are still to be able to consult their local GP in a couple of years time, reports DR.

Figures in an analysis carried out by the GPs organisation PLO, taken from the membership register of the Lægeforeningen doctor’s association, make for sobering reading: every tenth working doctor has reached the age of 65, which means they could potentially hang up their stethoscope tomorrow.

Looked at by region, the Capital Region is worse off, with those hitting 65 at 12.7 percent, followed by Region Northern Jutland and Region Zealand nearly tied at 11.9 and 11.8 percent respectively. People living in Region Mid-Jutland are the best off, with only a 6.2 percent share of elderly doctors.

The people most at risk are those attached to single-doctor practices where the GP is 65 or over, as it can be almost impossible to find a replacement.

Not enough interest at medical school
One of the problems seems to be that over the last 10-20 years, there haven’t been enough GPs being trained. Another problem is that doctors who want to retire are unable to sell their practices because there are just not enough potential buyers.

“If we don’t do something drastic now, we are going to end up in a completely untenable situation,” Christian Freitag, the chair of the PLO, told DR Nyheder.

“We will have to put our trust in the hope that the older doctors will keep on working, and we can’t rely on that.”

Revising attitudes
A number of political parties have said they plan to train new GPs, and it is also a part of the government’s recent health reform.

“We can try to persuade some of the older doctors and ask them what it would take for them to stay on for a couple of extra years,” said Freitag.

“We can also ask some of the younger doctors what they would need to take the plunge and set up in practice as GPs.”