Impossible for every GP practice to be open every night and every weekend in current climate, says RCGP

Publication date: 11 December 2017

Responding to NHS London's announcement on access to general practice for patients in London, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Making access to GPs easier and more convenient for patients can only be a good thing, but in the current climate, it is simply impossible for every GP practice to be open every night and every weekend.

"Patients need to be aware that the scheme announced today will offer them a GP consultation, but not necessarily with their usual GP or at their own GP practice.

"Hardworking GPs and our teams are offering more consultations than ever before – including in the evenings and at weekends - and seeing over 1m patients across the country every day. But we are still struggling after years of underinvestment in our service, and we have a severe shortage of GPs.

"Workload in general practice has increased 16% over the last seven years, but the number of GPs has not kept pace with increasing demand. We want to do the best for our patients but we need to keep our patients safe and there is a limit beyond which we cannot guarantee this.

"It's encouraging to see investment promised in NHS England's GP Forward View making its way to frontline general practice, where our GPs and our patients need it – but we still have a long way to go until we have sufficient resources and numbers of GPs to deliver the care all our patients need and deserve.

"NHS England's GP Forward View, which also promises an extra £2.4 billion a year for general practice and 5,000 more GPs by 2020, could be a lifeline for our profession – but only if it is delivered in full and as a matter of urgency, in London and right across the country.

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633/7410
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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