RCGP response to Health Foundation report on pressures facing UK general practice

Publication date: 17 February 2016

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to the Health Foundation’s analysis of the Commonwealth Fund’s 2015 International Health Policy Survey of Primary Care Doctors.

She said: "It is no surprise that this report has found such high levels of stress amongst GPs in the UK compared to other countries when you consider that despite increasing workload, both in terms of volume and complexity, resources into general practice have been decreasing over the last ten years and our workforce has remained relatively stagnant.

“Having such stressed – and exhausted – doctors is a threat to our patients’ safety, our own health, and the sustainability of the NHS as family doctors are becoming dissatisfied with their working circumstances and consider leaving the profession. The College has been calling for both workable solutions to reduce GP fatigue in the best interests of patient care, and for measures to be implemented to retain our current workforce, for some time.

“It is also concerning that GP appointments in the UK are the shortest of those countries included in this survey. We want to spend longer with our patients, particularly those with multiple and chronic conditions, for which the standard ten minute consultation is increasingly inadequate – we simply don’t have the capacity to do this as a matter of course. 

“Investing in general practice makes sense. Our service is the most cost-effective form of care, it alleviates pressures across the health service, and it is delivered in the community, close to home, where our patients want it most – but it needs significant investment to allow this to continue.

“The College is calling for general practice to receive 11% of the overall NHS budget and for initiatives to be implemented to make general practice a career that medical students want to enter, and GPs want to stay in, delivering excellent patient care, for years to come. Only then will general practice be able to provide the care and services - including longer consultations for those who need them – that our patients need and deserve.”

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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