"Parties need to listen to GPs and patients" says College Chair

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has featured in the Mail Online and the Independent responding to the Conservatives' General Election pledge to build 100 new GP surgeries in England. 

Professor Hawthorne said: "GP infrastructure is letting patients down, and it is good to see commitments to improving it. Too many GPs are working in mouldy rooms with leaking roofs, without enough space to deliver the care their community needs. The Royal College of GPs' own research found that two in five staff members considered their premises not fit for purpose, with 88% of those citing insufficient numbers of consulting rooms, and 75% citing insufficient space to take on additional GP trainees. Investment in more space would allow us to see more patients and train more GPs, as well as housing the expansion in our surgery teams.

"But we also need to see investment in recruiting and retaining more GPs as well, if we are going to deliver more appointments for patients. Right now, we simply don’t have enough GPs for the number of patients who need our 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. We are delivering millions more appointments than we were five years ago, with 880 fewer GPs, but we can't keep doing more with less.

"The only solution to the current crisis in general practice is more GPs - no other healthcare professional can do the complex clinical and leadership work that GPs do. We need all the political parties to commit to significant investment and further efforts to increase the GP workforce, to ensure that there are enough GPs to deliver safe timely and appropriate care. Parties need to listen to GPs and patients, and prioritise the future of general practice." 

Further information

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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.