New workforce figures 'yet another hammer blow' for hardworking GPs' says RCGP

Publication date: 15 May 2018

Responding to the latest GP workforce figures in England released by NHS Digital today, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"These figures are yet another hammer blow for family doctors, for whom going the extra mile is now the norm, and for our patients. The stark truth is that we are losing GPs at an alarming rate at a time when we need thousands more to deliver the care our patients need, and keep our profession, and the wider NHS, sustainable.

"It is clear that substantial efforts to increase the GP workforce in England are falling short – and we need urgent action to address this. We have made great strides over the past couple of years encouraging more medical students and foundation doctors to choose general practice, but these efforts will be futile, if more GPs are leaving the profession than entering it.

"GP workload is escalating, both in volume and complexity, and the hardworking GPs we do have are burning out as we try to cope without the resources and support we need.

"Longer and longer days in clinic is what our members are telling us they face when they come to work in the morning, exacerbated by a mountain of bureaucracy and paperwork. This isn't safe for GPs, our teams, or our patients, and if it isn't tackled GPs will continue to leave the profession early, and new GPs will be put off from joining.

"We can't be complacent with recruitment efforts, but retaining our workforce must be the number one priority moving forward, and doing this won't be possible without tackling GP workload and protecting the health and wellbeing of GPs.

"Ultimately, we need NHS England's GP Forward View, including pledges of £2.4bn extra a year for general practice, 5,000 more GPs, and 5,000 more practice team members, to be delivered in full and as a matter of urgency, or else the future of our profession, and the NHS as a whole, is bleak."

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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