General practice must be a key recipient of new funding for primary and community care, says RCGP

Publication date: 21 November 2018

Responding to Prime Minister Theresa May's announcement of forthcoming investment in primary and community healthcare, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"Any investment in patient care in the community is welcome – and it's essential that general practice, specifically, is at the heart of these plans and a key recipient of this new funding.

"The Prime Minister's announcement demonstrates recognition at the highest levels that a strong general practice service is central to the long-term sustainability of the NHS and patient care. It is an important step forward to meeting our calls for our service to receive 11% of the overall NHS England budget, and achieving some of the College's aspirations for the future of general practice, particularly around providing a wider range of services in the community – but it certainly doesn't go all the way.

"GPs and our teams make more than a million patient contacts every single day. Our workload has increased substantially over the last decade, yet the share of the NHS England budget general practice receives is less, and the GP workforce has actually fallen.

"As a result, GPs are working far beyond what is safe or sensible, working ever-increasing hours due to the rising volume and complexity of patient demand, and then facing a mountain of paperwork. It is relentless, and it isn't safe for anyone involved.

"This is why we are today urgently renewing our calls for general practice to receive 11% of the overall NHS budget as part of the forthcoming 10-year plan for the NHS. This would allow us more time to care for our patients who need it; a larger general practice workforce leading a wider range of healthcare professionals to deliver care tailored to our patients' needs; and enhanced technology, so that GPs can broaden the range of consultation options for patients and enable seamless care throughout the NHS.

"The forthcoming NHS long term plan is an opportunity to ensure general practice receives the investment it desperately needs, so that we can continue to deliver the care our patients deserve. We look forward to more details about the plans announced today, and how the long-term plan will increase funding for general practice over time, so that we can reach the necessary 11% of the overall NHS England budget as soon as possible.

"Investing in general practice is investing in the entire NHS. It is an investment in good patient care."

Further Information

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

Notes to editor

See the RCGP's #BackGP document [PDF] outlining the implications for patient care and the NHS of general practice receiving 11% of the NHS England budget.

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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