Funding needed to ensure GP premises are fit for all patients, says RCGP

Publication date: 09 January 2019

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to a recent study from the Patients Association about patient feedback.

She said: "It's extremely useful for GPs and our teams to get feedback from patients about their experiences of general practice – good or bad, it is central to helping us improve the care we can deliver.

"One issue that both GPs and patients have been voicing for some time now, and which is reiterated in this report, is the need to invest in GP premises to ensure they are easily accessible for patients with all sorts of disability and limitations - and this has become increasingly apparent with our growing and ageing population as more and more people live with multiple, chronic conditions and rely on regular visits to their local surgery to receive the care they need.

"Some practices are able to work around or make modest changes to overcome issues with their premises, but often the severe lack of resources across primary care has meant that many are functioning without essential structural improvements that could positively impact patients' experiences of a practice.

"The same applies to concerns highlighted in the report about patient confidentiality at GP reception desks, which can sometimes become overcrowded due to waiting areas that are too small or have poor acoustics and don't lend themselves to the privacy that patients expect and deserve.

"We understand that for some patients, discussion of their appointment with anyone other than their GP can make them uncomfortable – but we would like to assure them that GP receptionists are highly-trained members of the practice team and any questions they do ask patients questions about their health will be to ensure their visit to the surgery runs as smoothly as possible, and they will always strive to treat patient data as sensitively as possible.

"It's essential, particularly as patient demand grows, that these issues are rectified with better investment in general practice; issues that can have almost as much impact on patient care as ensuring surgeries are equipped with the right clinicians, medicines, and follow-up services. 

"That's why we need to see NHS England's GP Forward View, which promises an extra £2.5bn a year for general practice, delivered, in full, as soon as possible, along with guarantees that general practice will receive a significant share of the funding for primary and community care outlined in the NHS Long-Term Plan."

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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