Workload in general practice a real concern, says RCGP

Publication date: 18 January 2018

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to a survey conducted by Pulse magazine, which found that GPs have an average of 41.5 patients a day – higher than the 25 recommended as safe by European GPs.

She said: "This survey backs up what the College has been saying for years – that many GPs and our teams are regularly working way beyond what could be considered safe for patients, and potentially jeopardising our own health and wellbeing.

"GPs expect to be busy, and we are making more consultations than ever before as we strive to deliver the best possible care to all our patients who need it, but the workload at the moment is relentless and it's taking its toll. The GP health service in England was launched earlier this year, and there are already more than 1000 GPs on its books.

"It is not necessarily the number of consultations we are making on a daily basis, it's the content of those consultations and our patients are increasingly presenting with more complex, chronic conditions – many of which require much longer than the standard 10 minute consultation. As well as clinical work, we have other urgent duties, such as prescription reviews, hospital letters, ensuring records are up to date – and there is a limit beyond which we worry that we are not practising safely.

"Our workload needs to be addressed – it has risen at least 16% over the last seven years, yet the share of the overall NHS budget general practice receives is less than it was a decade ago, and our workforce has not risen at pace with demand.

"We urgently need NHS England's GP Forward View, including £2.4bn extra a year for general practice, 5,000 more GPs and 5,000 more members of the practice team by 2020, to be delivered in full and as a matter of urgency."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 765

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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