College hits back at media criticism

The College is quoted in a story in today’s Telegraph, defending GPs against criticism over face to face appointments for patients.

You can read our statement in full here:

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:  “We understand – and share - patients’ frustrations when they can’t get a GP appointment or face long waiting times to get through to the surgery, but it’s a misconception that GPs aren’t seeing patients face to face. 

“General practice has been open throughout the pandemic and face to face appointments have been offered wherever safe and appropriate. GPs had to switch to largely remote consultations at the start of the pandemic out of necessity for infection control and to protect their patients and themselves from the virus. General practice is now making more patient consultations than before the pandemic, with well over half being face to face.

“Face to face consulting will always be an essential element of general practice, but remote consulting should also be an option as things get back to normal. Both options have their advantage and just as some patients prefer to see their GP face to face, others prefer the convenience of remote consultations. The decision about how care is delivered and accessed should be a shared one between GP practice staff, based on their knowledge of their patients and on the patient’s individual needs.

“The real issue is that we have a huge shortage of GPs and our workforce is not big enough to manage the needs of an ageing and growing patient population with increasingly complex needs.  This was the case before the pandemic and it has only been further exacerbated by the events of the past year. The Government made a manifesto pledge of an additional 6,000 GPs by 2024 – plus 26,000 additional practice staff  - and we urgently need to see progress so that we can safely deliver the care and services that our patients need, now and in the future.”

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.