College hits back at anti-GP media coverage

Sections of today’s media are once again criticising GPs, this time for their prescribing skills. You can read the full College response below.

The College will continue to defend hardworking GPs against the current onslaught of criticism. We continue our calls on the four governments of the UK to invest properly in general practice and provide better support for GPs in delivering patient care.

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said the following.

“Prescribing is a core skill for GPs and many of our nurse and pharmacist colleagues in primary care. Doing whatever we can to prescribe the most appropriate medicine for our patients, in an evidence-based way, is something we strive to do on a daily basis. In the vast majority of cases, this review shows this is happening.

“With our growing and ageing population, with more patients living with multiple, chronic conditions, many people are taking several medications in order to manage their various health illnesses. The interaction between various medicines is something prescribers will take into account. In most cases, these medicines are necessary, appropriate and of benefit for the patient – but the aspiration to reduce the number of medications a patient is taking, where safe and possible, is a good one.

“GPs will only ever prescribe medication to patients in conversation with them, and after a frank discussion about the risks and benefits of the treatment – and when alternative options have been explored. What GPs and other members of the practice team often need, however, is better access for their patients to alternative, non-pharmacological treatments, which can be patchy across the country.

“We welcome some of the recommendations in this report. Particularly, the commitment to provide further resources and training to support appropriate prescribing in primary care. And, the development of clinical guidelines to support patient-centred care.”

Further information

(For media only)

RCGP Press office – 020 3188 7633/7494/7574
Out of hours: 020 3188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 53,000 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.