Urgent action needed to support family doctor services

The College has issued the following response to figures from the House of Commons Library showing that each GP in England saw an average 8,534 patients last year – up from 8,351 in 2019.

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “These figures are yet another demonstration of how hard our GPs are working and trying their absolute best to deliver safe, timely and appropriate care to patients in the most difficult circumstances. They also show the need for urgent action to reverse the shocking decline in our family doctor service.

“In some areas, one GP is now responsible for more than 2,500 patients and this is not sustainable – for patients, for the wellbeing of GPs and their teams, or the wider NHS.

"The crisis in general practice is not the fault of dedicated GPs, but the result of decades of underfunding and poor workforce planning. Over the same period, more and more clinical work has been moved from hospitals into the community.

"However, it is not too late to turn this dire situation around and the forthcoming primary care recovery plan and long-awaited NHS workforce plan will be key opportunities to do this.

"Ultimately, we need to see a bold new plan from the Government that goes well beyond the target of 6,000 more GPs it pledged in its election manifesto, as well as a very significant investment in GP practices and IT systems to make it easier for patients to access care. The Government must also take steps to radically cut bureaucracy so that GPs can spend more of their valuable time with patients, rather than filling out forms and ticking boxes.”

Further information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633

Notes to editor

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.