‘Access issues are symptomatic of a much bigger problem’, says College Chair
Publication date: 10 November 2023
Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, appears in today’s Independent responding to the latest data on GP appointment access from the Office for National Statistics. Professor Hawthorne said:
“GPs want our patients to receive safe, timely and appropriate care, so we share their frustrations and worries when they have difficulty accessing our services.
“But current difficulties with access are not the fault of hardworking GPs who are trying their best in increasingly difficult circumstances – and it’s worth noting that the majority of patients report a good experience of their GP practice once they’re seen
“GP practices will hopefully start to see improvements, as the Primary Care Access Recovery plan, announced in May, is rolled out across England. This plan includes an updated digital phone system for all practices that aims to improve the experience for patients contacting their local practice.
“But access issues are symptomatic of a much bigger problem. General practice is already facing intense workload and workforce pressures, following years of inadequate funding and poor workforce planning. In September, GPs delivered more than 32 million appointments, nearly 5 million more than the same month 2019, but with 827 fewer fully-qualified, full time GPs.
“It is not too late to turn the crisis around. Our recent manifesto outlines seven solutions that will help improve our patients’ access to safe and timely care and ensure we have enough GPs and other primary care professionals to safeguard the future of general practice and the wider NHS.
“We want our patients to receive the personalised care they need, so we hope that our patients will get behind us and support our calls ahead of the next General Election.”
RCGP Press office: 0203 188 7659
Notes to editors
The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 54,000 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.