GMC report shows GPs have been working hard throughout the COVID pandemic and highlights need for greater support over coming months, says RCGP

Responding to the General Medical Council’s (GMC) 2020 State of medical education and practice report Dr Michael Mulholland, Vice Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “GPs have been working hard throughout the COVID pandemic to provide high-quality to care to all our patients despite care being delivered differently to slow the spread of the virus. The switch to a mostly remote service has, importantly, allowed general practice to remain open delivering vital care to both COVID and non-COVID patients. It’s been a remarkable transformation and the profession should be proud of how they’ve managed it.

“That many GPs surveyed in this GMC report disclosed difficulties associated with patient referrals and test delays is not entirely surprising given that the pandemic has been an incredible challenge for the entire NHS.

“Whilst the report did find different ways of working have helped some GPs find a healthier work-life balance, it also found that 28% of GPs are at a moderate to high risk of burnout. This is an improvement on 2019 but it remains concerning that over a quarter of the profession are working under conditions that risk them leaving the profession earlier than planned.

“Another concerning finding in this report is that Black, Asian and minority ethnic doctors are less likely than their white counterparts to experience positive workplace improvements throughout the pandemic. This should not be their experience and the College will continue its efforts to ensure that general practice is inclusive and supportive for all GPs regardless of ethnicity or any other protected characteristics.

“Considering all things, the report reiterates just how hard GPs have been working throughout the pandemic - managing patient's conditions under difficult circumstances with limited resources. As we look to the coming months it’s clear that GPs and our teams have a tough period ahead of us delivering the COVID vaccine; alongside the expanded flu vaccination programme; all while continuing to deliver general practice’s vital services. In order for GPs to carry out these important tasks effectively, without burnout, we must be supported both in terms of workforce, resources and through the suspension of GP appraisals which will allow us more time with patients.”

Further information

RCGP Press office – 020 3188 7633/7494/7574

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.