Latest consultation rates show GP teams are 'working exceptionally hard' in difficult circumstances

Responding to the latest consultation figures, Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“It is clear from today’s figures that GPs and our teams are continuing to work exceptionally hard, delivering more than 30m patient consultations in March – more than in the same month before the pandemic – with 44% on the same day they were booked. The data shows that GP teams are trying their best in the face of intense workload and workforce pressures to ensure their patients receive timely and appropriate care.

“General practice is a team profession and sometimes a GP is not the most appropriate healthcare professional to meet a patient’s health needs. We lead teams of highly-trained practice nurses, pharmacists, physios, link workers and other health professionals in order to ensure patients receive the care they need. Working in multi-disciplinary teams also frees up GPs’ time to see those patients who need our medical expertise, such as those with multiple and complex health conditions.

“Increasingly, patients are living with complex physical and mental health needs, which is reflected in today’s figures that show almost 40% of patients being seen for longer than 10 minutes in general practice. Patients with complex health problems needs to have more time with their doctor, so we can ensure they are receiving the care they need, which is why the College has called for 15-minute GP appointments as standard. This is not to say every patient will need this time as some simple conditions can be dealt with in less, particularly if it is not the GP they are seeing – for example, a simple blood test might only take a few minutes of a practice nurse’s time.

“GPs and our teams are doing a very good job in difficult circumstances. Ultimately, we need more GPs and more members of the practice team, so that we can deliver the care our patients need and expect. This is why we urgently need the Government to make good on its promise of 6,000 more GPs and 26,000 more members of the wider practice team by 2024.”

Further information

RCGP Press office: 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.