'Pushed to breaking point', RCGP responds to GP appointment figures

Responding to new NHS GP appointment and workforce data, Dr Victoria Tzortziou-Brown, Vice Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"General practice is being pushed to breaking point. GPs and their teams delivered 30.5 million appointments in February 2024 – 5.46 million more than in February 2019, but with 3% fewer fully qualified, full-time equivalent GPs.

“Even while stretched so thin, GPs and our teams have been working hard to get patients the care they need, with almost 44% of appointments carried out on the same day they were booked.

“But this workload isn’t sustainable, or even manageable. The average number of patients per fully qualified GP continues to rise and is now a shocking 2,298, meaning each GP is, on average, responsible for 158 more patients than they were five years ago. There simply aren’t enough GPs to keep up with the need for our care, and of course this has a knock-on effect for patients.

“General practice is the backbone of the NHS, the first port of call for most patients, but it has faced years of neglect. We need significant investment and dramatic efforts to increase the GP workforce, especially retaining GPs, or things will only get worse.

“Our manifesto outlines seven solutions – including funding for recruitment and retention - ensure that there are enough GPs to safeguard the future of general practice. This is the best and most effective route to improving patient access to safe, timely and appropriate care, and all political parties need to listen.” 

Further information

RCGP press office: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editors

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 54,000 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.