Charging patients for GP appointments will not work, warns College

College Chair Professor Kamila Hawthorne has issued the following statement in response to former Health Secretary Sajid Javid’s call for patients to pay for GP appointments and visits to A&E.

Professor Hawthorne said: “Charging patients for GP appointments will not work. It would have the biggest impact on our most vulnerable patients and only increase the administrative burden on GPs and their teams who are already working under immense pressures. The suggestion is simply tinkering at the edges given the scale of the crisis facing GPs.

"NHS figures hammer home how GPs and our teams are working harder than ever - the average full-time GP is caring for 120 more patients than they were in 2019. Yet over the same period, we have 737 fewer fully qualified, full-time equivalent GPs working in the NHS. GPs value their relationships with their patients above all else and we share their distress and frustrations when they cannot access much-needed care.

"First and foremost, the Government must address the workforce crisis in general practice by devising and implementing a recruitment and retention strategy that will go beyond the 6,000 GPs promised and make GP workload more manageable by reducing unnecessary red tape and bureaucracy. We must also see a return to 11% of the total health spend in general practice, and investment in our IT systems and premises, so that GPs and their teams can deliver the care our patients need."

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.