College sets record straight on face-to-face GP appointments

The College has appeared in today’s media, setting the record straight about face-to-face appointments in general practice. You can read our full statement.

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “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 continued to be 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. It is also important to remember that we are still in a pandemic, and GP practices are high risk for disease transmission so it’s vital we take measures to minimise this, to continue to keep patients as well as GPs and our teams safe."

"We understand patients’ frustrations when they have to wait a long time for an appointment but GPs are currently working under intense workload and workforce pressures. There is a huge shortage of GPs and our workforce is simply 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 these numbers to be delivered 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.