RCGP Chair responds to the launch of ‘same-day access hubs’

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, featured in today’s BBC News and Telegraph responding to the launch of ‘same-day access hubs’ by the North West London Integrated Care Board.

Professor Hawthorne said: “Last year 356 million appointments were made in general practice, with nearly 45% already happening on the day they were booked. We are always open to new ways of improving patient access and reducing pressures on practices, and we absolutely share patients' frustration when they struggle to see their GP when they need to. Same day access hubs, if implemented appropriately, could potentially streamline the process and improve experience for some patients, especially those with minor issues that can be treated quickly and efficiently.

"However, we do have concerns about how this model could impact continuity of care, which research consistently shows is beneficial for patients and the NHS. It's the trusted relationships between GPs and patients, built over time, that help us to give patients the holistic care they often need.

“We’re also concerned that if all minor ailments are funnelled off to same-day access hubs, then GP workload would shift to solely treating more complex, long-term conditions, which require significantly more time. Whilst this is the type of care that GPs are highly trained to deliver, it would have implications for workforce planning in general practice, as we currently plan our time and staffing schedules around delivering care to a wide range of patients and conditions.

"We'll be watching this initiative with interest – and it must be robustly evaluated, including for its impact on continuity of care, patient experience, and GP workload, before it is rolled our more widely. Our current model in general practice is highly effective but is struggling because of longstanding underfunding and poor workforce planning. A solution that is guaranteed to improve patient access and experience is to address the workload and workforce crises facing GPs and our teams – and our manifesto outlines seven solutions, including funding for recruitment and retention of GPs, to improve patient access to safe, timely and appropriate care."

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.