The United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) is very popular with people who have no serious issues, because it is free - if they have to wait a few weeks, it is no big deal. For doctors, it isn't so great. The cost to attend medical school is not high, around $15,000 per year, but in their first year they will only earn about $30,000 annually. A specialist is almost 50% higher and that is part of the reason why the UK is losing General Practioners, at the bottom of the wage scale, faster than they can replace them.

Politicians on both sides of the aisle are claiming they will increase GPs but the only way to do that is to lower the standards so that specialists will still be specialists but more students are allowed into medical schools, or to change the wage scale, which will not be possible because government controls the wages and does not want walkouts from everyone else in medicine.

So medical students specialize, in order to make more money and to not have to deal with the masses, which means that the 50% doctors needed to be GPs is not happening. Instead, only around 11% of new medical students planned a career in general practice. Even when they graduate, less than 25% of doctors goes into general practice. 

And medical schools know telling people they should be GPs and have a conveyor belt of patients is not going to bring the best and brightest into medicine.  Richard Wakeford, Life Fellow at Hughes Hall in the University of Cambridge, reviewed the recruitment websites of all 33 publicly funded UK undergraduate medical schools and found very little information about general practice. He believes the reason could lie within the Medical Schools Council (MSC), the medical schools' representative body.   

Out of 33 members representing undergraduate medical schools, just 2 are GPs. If only 6% of the panel are GPs, does that mean the body itself will ignore the field? Wakeford argues that medical schools must act and the MSC's membership requires obliterative change. "This is urgent because of the training time lag. If the NHS is to survive, we need creative recruitment such that at least one in two, not one in eight, new medical students want to become the GPs of the future."

Though that may require paying them more than new journalists with an undergraduate degree makes. 

Source: BMJ