College responds to BMJ study on ‘frequent attenders’ in general practice

Responding to a BMJ Open study looking at patients who frequently access general practice care and services.

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said the following:

"As well as having more patients than 20 years ago, GPs and our teams are seeing more patients who are living with multiple, long-term conditions, who often require general practice care and services more frequently. As this research suggests, this is increasing the complexity of workload in general practice, as well as volume.

"GPs know and understand their patients and we're able to deliver the care our patients with complex health conditions need because of the relationships we've built with them over time. This is why it’s so important that we’re able to maintain continuity of care in general practice for those who need it, but this involves being able to spend more time with patients – and whilst demand for appointments is high, and staffing pressures in general practice prevail, being able to offer longer appointments in general practice, means being able to offer fewer overall.

"GPs and our teams are working under intense resource and workforce pressures. These pressures existed before the pandemic, but the crisis has only exacerbated them. We urgently need the Government to make good on its promise of 6,000 more GPs and 26,000 more members of the practice team - as well as introducing measures to tackle the ‘undoable’ workload in general practice - so that we're able to deliver the care our patients need, including spending more time with them where necessary."

Further information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

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.