Time to tackle GP workforce pressures, says RCGP in response to GMC report

Publication date: 19 December 2017

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs has responded to the General Medical Council's report, The state of medical education and practice 2017, published today. She said:

"This wide-ranging report shines a light on the very real workforce pressures we are facing in general practice and ultimately, makes a loud and clear statement that we need more GPs.

"GPs deliver the vast majority of patient care in the NHS for less than 9% of the overall budget. Our workload has risen 16% over the last seven years, but investment in our service has fallen over the last decade and our workforce has not risen at pace with demand.

"We are incredibly grateful for the work overseas GPs contribute to delivering care to over a million patients everyday - and any appropriately trained doctor who wants to join us is welcome, and should continue to be made to feel so - but we should not have to solely rely on their skills and dedication.

"It is clear we need to be training more doctors here in the UK - and we have welcomed the government's commitment to increase medical school places. But we also need to ensure that a high proportion of medical students and foundation doctors choose general practice.

"We need a steady stream of medical students entering our workforce, but our recent report Destination GP found that 76% of medical students had heard negative comments about general practice by their final year at university.

"Archaic perceptions about general practice must be addressed - and today's report underlines why - but we also need to expose more medical students to more general practice early on in their training, through funding more high quality placements, and GP societies that promote what a diverse and intellectually stimulating profession general practice can be.

"Overall, today's report hammers home just how essential it is that NHS England's GP Forward View, pledging £2.4bn extra a year and 5,000 more full-time equivalent GPs by 2020, to be delivered urgently and in full, and for equivalent promises to be made and delivered in each of the devolved nations. This is the only way we will secure a GP workforce fit for the future and able to deliver the care our patients need and deserve."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

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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