RCGP response to Prime Minister's speech on 'Seven Day' NHS

Publication date: 18 May 2015

Access to GP services important but weekend and evening access must not come at expense of access and services during normal hours making patients worse off

RCGP Chair Dr Maureen Baker said:

"Waiting times for a GP appointment are now a matter of national concern and hardworking family doctors are going all out to ensure that patients can get access to a GP when they need one.

"But we have a severe shortage of GPs and it is difficult to see how this will work without major investment in general practice and a major boost to the GP workforce.

"Many practices are already offering extended opening hours but for the majority, seven day opening remains an aspiration and telling patients that they can walk into their local surgery in the evening or at weekends risks raising expectations that general practice cannot live up to with current resources.

"GPs are now seeing 370 million patients - 70m more than even five years ago.

"We manage 90% of patient contacts in the NHS, but as patient demand has rocketed and our workloads have become more complex, the share of the NHS budget for general practice has fallen to an all-time low of just over 8% in England.

"We welcome the new Government's commitment to delivering the Five Year Forward View and hope that it will honour its promise of 5,000 additional GPs as a matter of urgency.

"Access to GP services is extremely important but prioritising weekend and evening access must not come at the expense of access and services during normal hours so that patients end up worse off.

"Practices must be able to tailor their services to the needs of their local populations."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7581
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659
press@rcgp.org.uk

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 50,000 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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