'Tough decisions' must be made to secure NHS future, says College

Publication date: 24 May 2018

Responding to a new report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Health Foundation into the long-term sustainability of the NHS, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"It's good to see such a frank report, written by reputable researchers, making it clear that for the NHS to remain sustainable it needs considerably more investment – and that politicians urgently need to make some tough decisions about where that money will come from.

"The facts are clear, our population is growing and ageing, and our patients are increasingly living with multiple, long-term conditions – no sector of the health service is feeling the effects as acutely as general practice, where our workload is escalating both in volume and complexity.

"Despite this, general practice receives less investment now than it did a decade ago, and efforts to boost our workforce are in jeopardy, with the latest figures showing a decrease of over 300 full-time equivalent GPs between December 2018-March 2018.

"GPs and our teams make the vast amount of patient contacts in the NHS for little over 9% of the overall budget – we make the NHS sustainable.  We keep many patients out of hospital, where care is more expensive, and keep our patients safe, in the community where they want it most.

"We've had promises from NHS England for £2.4bn extra a year for general practice and 5,000 more GPs by 2020 – and we need these delivered urgently, in full. But the importance of general practice and how it supports the whole NHS must also be recognised by the Prime Minister when she announces her long-term plans for the NHS, and our service must receive an appropriate share of any new funding – for the sake of the NHS as a whole, and our patients."

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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