Urgent action needed to prevent more 'heart-breaking' practice closures, says College

Publication date: 31 May 2019

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to an investigation, which found that more GP surgeries are shutting than ever before.

She said: "These figures are sad but, unfortunately, not surprising. GPs and our teams are working to our absolute limits to provide safe, high-quality care, while general practice is under intense pressure, and this is resulting in some GPs leaving the profession, and in other cases forcing them to close their surgery doors.

"In some areas, practice closures are the result of surgeries merging or joining federations in order to pool their resources and provide additional services in the best interests of their patient population. But when a practice closes because resource and workforce pressures mean that it is no longer safe or sustainable to keep running, it's incredibly serious – and heart-breaking for everyone involved, especially those patients who have to travel long distances to their new surgery and get to know new teams, which is particularly difficult for the more vulnerable members of our communities and those who rely on public transport.

"The last thing that GP and our teams want to do is close their premises, and it will only be considered once every other alternative has been ruled out.

"Further closures must be avoided wherever possible. That's why we need to see the promises made in the NHS Long-Term Plan delivered as a matter of urgency, to ensure general practice has the people, resources, and investment we desperately need to continue providing world-class patient care, both now and in the future."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659
press@rcgp.org.uk

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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