Tackling the cost of living crisis ‘cannot fall to GPs’

Responding to plans for GPs to become responsible for assessing patients’ eligibility for financial cost of living support, Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “There is a clear link between poverty and health, and rising energy and food bills clearly risk the health of our patients. As GPs we are already seeing the results of this in our surgeries and it is likely we will continue to do so as we approach what is likely to be a very difficult winter.

“Some larger surgeries will offer additional services, such as links with citizens advice services that can offer financial advice. But GPs and other members of our team are not qualified to assess whether people should or should not receive additional financial support to help them cope with rising cost of living. We are also working under intense workload and workforce pressures, making more consultations every month than before the pandemic with falling numbers of GPs.

“Action does need to be taken to address this and minimise the impact of rising cost of living on people’s health, something that will impact on our most vulnerable patients most. But this cannot fall to GPs and our teams to facilitate.”

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Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 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.