RCGP response to Labour analysis of GP Patient Survey

Publication date: 18 January 2016

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “GPs and our teams are working harder than ever, making more consultations than ever, to meet the increasing demand of our growing and ageing population.

“But resources into general practice have been decreasing over the last ten years to the point where our service now receives just over 8% of the overall health service budget – despite making 90% of all NHS patient contacts, and our work becoming greater in both volume and complexity. This is not safe for us, and it is not safe for our patients.
 
"Access to GP services is very important, but prioritising extended opening hours over everything else can mean that the routine GP service will suffer and our patients could end up worse off. There is also a growing bank of evidence that has found a lack of demand for GP services outside of normal working hours particularly at weekends.
 
“Many practices are already offering extended opening hours but for the majority, with current resources, seven day opening remains an aspiration. Putting pressure on family doctors who are already working themselves to the bone to deliver high-quality patient care, is neither safe nor sustainable.
 
“In an emergency, our patients will always be able to see a GP if they need to through our existing five-day routine service and existing GP out-of-hours services. It’s very clear that the priority for government and decision-makers should be to better integrate these services – and do more to raise public awareness of them – before they even think about extending access to GP services as a matter of course.
 
"The RCGP is calling for general practice to receive 11% NHS budget and for thousands more GPs over the course of this parliament. Only then will general practice be able to provide more care and services for our patients whenever they need them, close to home, where care is most cost effective and where our patients want it most.”

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633
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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