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GPs working for free as coronavirus threatens job losses

While the coronavirus pandemic may be prompting a surge in demand for medical staff, it’s left many general practitioners struggling financially to stay afloat. 

Source: Pexels

A new survey released by the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners detailed the dire situation that GP practices are facing around the country. 

Out of the almost 700 GPs questioned yesterday, over 70 per cent of doctors say they are likely to have their hours reduced or lose their job as a result of the pandemic.  

More than 450 GPs said their hours had already been reduced while 47 say they’ve been laid off and another 74 doctors are without locum work for the month of April. 

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GPs could be forced to close over financial struggles amid coronavirus pandemic

One doctor said they have resorted to working for free in an attempt to keep their practice running and still be able to pay staff. 

“I cannot pay myself and my team, so I am working for no money so that I can protect my team. I am working 16 hours a day, seven days a week and cry a lot about the fear and insecurity of how we manage to look after our patients.” 

Others have said the lockdown has caused their business to totally stall due to less patients visiting and having to stand down staff due to lockdown and personal situations. 

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Dr Bryan Betty says the margins were thin already, and a slowdown of paying patients is bad news for doctors. Source: Breakfast

“To date, I currently only have 250 patients enrolled because of Covid-19, these have totally stalled. Patients are not coming in. I am paying for the privilege to go to work, to service my enrolled patients and put myself at risk.” 

It’s feared that some medical practices will be forced to close if their situation doesn’t improve.