Practices being forced to close will impact patients and wider NHS, says RCGP

Publication date: 14 July 2017

Responding to NHS Digital figures on GP practices opening, closing and merging, released today, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"It's not clear with these figures why practices have closed – some may have merged, and others may have closed as a result of working 'at scale', which can bring benefits for patients through pooling resources to provide additional services or better appointment access.

"But this won't always be the case and when practices are being forced to close because GPs and their teams can no longer cope with ever-growing patient demand without the necessary funding and resources, it’s a huge problem. And when practices are being forced to lock up and hand back the keys to their surgery because they can't recruit enough GPs or practice staff, it will have severe consequences for our patients and the wider NHS.

"GP practices are the lifeblood of our local communities so the complete closure of any practice will always be a last resort when all other options have proved unworkable. 

"More research into why practices are closing would be really useful – but ultimately, we need the pledges in NHS England's GP Forward View, including £2.4bn extra a year for general practice and 5,000 more full-time equivalent GPs by 2020, to be implemented in full and as a matter of urgency."

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 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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