College sounds alarm as five million more appointments are delivered by almost 500 fewer GPs

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, has responded to NHS England’s May GP workforce and appointments data. Professor Hawthorne said:

“These latest figures are further evidence of the unsustainable pressure on general practice, with buckling GP practices delivering more and more appointments, yet with fewer doctors.

“GPs and our teams delivered almost 30.5 million appointments in May 2024 – approximately 5.24 million more than in May 2019, yet with 480 fewer fully qualified, full-time equivalent GPs than in December 2019. This means that each GP is, on average, responsible for 149 more patients than there were five years ago.

“General practice is the front door of the NHS, the first port of call for most patients when they need medical help. But general practice is in crisis and our patients are bearing the brunt. We simply don’t have enough GPs for the number of patients who need our care.

“We’re encouraged by some commitments from political parties to redirect funding towards primary care – but general practice has faced decades of underfunding and poor workforce planning, and we and our patients need immediate action. This is why we've sent our own seven-step manifesto to all political parties, setting out our solutions to ensure that there are enough GPs to safeguard the future of general practice and give patients the care and services they deserve. With the election so close now, all parties need to take heed, because if general practice collapses, the rest of the NHS won’t be far behind.”

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.