GP-patient survey results show general practice must be a priority for new Government

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, responds to latest GP-patient survey results:

  • 74% of patients had a good experience of GP practice;
  • 90% said their needs were met at their last appointment and 92% had confidence and trust in their healthcare professional;
  • 20% of patients waited over a week for an appointment and 12% of waited over two weeks;
  • 34% said they waited too long for an appointment.

Professor Hawthorne said:  “Given the intense workload and workforce pressures they are working under, it is testament to the efforts and commitment of GPs and their teams that patients’ experiences of their last appointment were so positive, with the vast majority reporting trust and confidence in the healthcare professional they saw, that their needs were met, and that they were treated with care and concern.

“It’s clear that when patients are able to see their GP they are getting the care they need. But it is also clear that too many patients are waiting too long for an appointment and struggling to access the care and services their practice provides – and many are unclear where to turn if they fall unwell outside routine hours. GPs are as worried and frustrated as their patients when this happens.

“Decades of underfunding and poor workforce planning have left general practice on the brink. More and more people need our care but we simply do not have enough GPs to keep up, and these survey results show it’s our patients who are bearing the brunt.

“The new health secretary has made welcome commitments to support general practice by increasing the share of NHS funding for primary care and boosting the GP workforce, and these results show just how badly we need to review the current NHS workforce plan which would lead to GPs falling as a share of the clinical workforce. General practice is the bedrock of the NHS – when it is properly resourced it alleviates pressures right across the health service, including in Emergency Departments - but it has faced years of neglect.

“Our service is struggling but with the right investment and initiatives to recruit and retain GPs we can turn things around, allowing GPs to deliver the high quality, safe and timely care that we are trained to, and want to, provide. It's vital that under our new Government, general practice finally gets the support it needs to provide the care our patients need and deserve.”

Further information

RCGP press office: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editors

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.