‘Defend general practice - don’t denigrate and demoralise hardworking GPs’, says College Chair

College Chair Professor Martin Marshall has a letter published in today’s Telegraph, calling for an end to the ‘sustained campaign of criticism’ against GPs by certain sections of the media throughout the pandemic.

You can read the complete version here.

When are some elements of the media going to stop attacking GPs? Many GPs feel like they have been subjected to a sustained campaign of criticism throughout the pandemic, but Allison Pearson’s latest column plummets to new depths. GPs and patients are on the same side here and we share our patients' frustrations when they can't get an appointment or face long waits trying to get through to the surgery.

General practice has been open throughout the pandemic and we have continued to see patients face to face where safe and appropriate, in line with government guidance on infection control. GPs are currently delivering record numbers of consultations – over 13 million in the last four weeks, on top of 75% of Covid vaccinations.

The truth is that the job of a modern GP to provide safe, effective and personalised care for patients is becoming increasingly undoable. General practice has suffered a decade of underinvestment and the GP workforce is not big enough to manage the increasingly complex needs of an ageing and growing patient population.

We need urgent progress on the Government's 2019 manifesto pledge of an additional 6,000 GPs by 2024 – plus 26,000 additional practice staff - so that we can safely deliver the care and services that our patients need and deserve. 

The Telegraph should be using its might to save general practice, not plunging it further into the abyss by denigrating and demoralising hardworking GPs.

Professor Marshall – a GP in East London – also features in a Telegraph news story that is critical of GP pay. While pay and conditions are not the remit of the College, he has some important messages about tackling health inequalities and reiterates that general practice has been delivering care and services to patients throughout the pandemic.

The College will continue to push the message that the crisis in general practice is not about how much GPs earn – but about excessive workload and workforce shortages.

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.