‘We want the best for patients’ throughout life, says RCGP

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, featured in the Mail Online, The Express and the Independent today responding to a report by Age UK on the experiences of access to GP services of patients in later life. Professor Hawthorne said:

"GPs and our teams want to do the best for our patients, at all stages of their life, and we share their frustration when they struggle to access our services. This is not the fault of hardworking GPs and their teams who will always do their best to provide access to safe, timely and appropriate care - it is the consequence of years of underfunding and poor workforce planning, and we need urgent action to turn this around.

“While over 80% of general practice appointments in 2023 were delivered within two weeks of being booked, we recognise that timely access is a huge issue and that some patients are really struggling to get in touch with their practice.

"The unfortunate truth is that we simply don’t have enough GPs for the number of patients who are in need of care. The average number of patients per fully qualified GP is now 2,294, meaning each GP is, on average, responsible for 154 more patients than there were five years ago. And it’s often our most vulnerable patients, including elderly patients with complex health needs, who are impacted most.

“With general election campaigning under way, all political parties need to be prioritising real investment in general practice to fix this crisis. Our manifesto outlines seven solutions that, regardless of the election outcome, we are calling for the next government to implement– including funding for recruitment and retention. It is a ‘rescue package’ to save general practice and safeguard its future so that the job of being a GP becomes manageable again, and our patients can receive the care they so desperately need and deserve."

Further information

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.