GPs and patients need to know they are safe in new Health Secretary's hands, says College in response to Matt Hancock's first speech to NHS

Publication date: 20 July 2018

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Technology has huge potential to support doctors in delivering the best possible care to patients and to support patients who are trying to self-care. NHS Choices is a comprehensive and trusted source of health-related information and patients will welcome this move to make the service more user-friendly.

"But we are disappointed not to see more emphasis on Mr Hancock's plans for increasing the number of 'real' GPs providing frontline care to patients. We are currently at least 6000 GPs short – almost one per practice in England – yet today alone over 1m patients will visit their GP surgeries.

"GP workload has increased by 16% over the last seven years but our share of the NHS budget has not kept pace. GPs and our teams are facing unprecedented pressures and excellent family doctors are burning out and, in some cases, having to leave our profession altogether.

"We wrote to Mr Hancock when he was appointed two weeks ago requesting a meeting to discuss these issues, and we look forward to working with him to ensure that general practice is properly resourced and that GPs are properly supported to do their jobs of providing safe and innovative high quality care to patients.

"Technology is excellent when used wisely but it can never be a substitute for GPs who are highly trained medical professionals who can consider all elements of our patients' lives.

"GPs - and our patients - need to know that the new Health and Social Care Secretary understands and values the role of modern GPs and that we are safe in his hands.

"Investment in general practice has been shown repeatedly to be cost-effective and to reduce pressures on other NHS services, particularly hospitals – it is investment in the entire NHS."

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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