2021 saw an unprecedented number of GP appointments, reveals latest data

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, responded to the latest GP appointment data published today.

“Today's figures reveal once again the consistently high number of patient appointments GPs and our teams are managing to deliver under intense workload and workforce pressures, that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. In December alone, GPs made 25 million patient appointments - higher than in the same period pre-pandemic – and not taking account of the exceptional work done to deliver the Covid-19 booster campaign, protecting patients from the virus.

“The December figures bring the number of appointments made in 2021, when taking into account multiple mass vaccination drives that GPs and our teams have led, to an unprecedented 367m. The fact that such huge numbers of GP appointments have been sustained throughout such a challenging time for the NHS is a testament to the dedication of GPs and our teams to delivering good, safe and appropriate patient care.

“General practice is under immense pressure trying to manage ever-growing need for care and services with a prevailing shortage of GPs and other members of the practice team. Our workforce is not big enough to manage the needs of an ageing and growing patient population with increasingly complex needs. This was the case before the pandemic and it is becoming increasingly unsustainable as the crisis rolls on. The Government made a manifesto pledge of an additional 6,000 GPs by 2024 – plus 26,000 additional practice staff – and we urgently need to see progress so that we can safely deliver the care and services that our patients need, now and in the future.”

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.