GP teams working ‘above and beyond’ to care for ever-growing numbers of patients, says College

The College has issued the following response to today’s analysis by the Lib Dems, showing that some areas in England now have almost 3,000 registered patients for every fully qualified GP.

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “This research shows yet again how GPs and our teams are working above and beyond to deliver care to an ever-growing patient population, with falling numbers of fully-qualified, full-time equivalent GPs.

“GPs want to deliver safe, appropriate and timely care for our patients, and it’s as frustrating for us as them when they find it difficult to access our services. This research highlights why: we are delivering care and services to more people, and increasingly complex care to many of them, with fewer resources and fewer GPs. Whilst GP teams are facing intense workload and workforce pressures across the country, some areas are feeling the impact of this more than others – often these are areas with higher deprivation, where patients typically have more complex health needs. This is clearly exacerbating health inequalities and urgently needs to be addressed.

“Last year, 340m patient consultations were made in general practice, 9% more - and 17% more delivered on the same day they were booked – than in 2019, yet over the same period the number of fully-qualified GPs fell by 754. This isn’t sustainable. It is leading to many GPs burning out and leaving the profession earlier than planned, and we don’t have enough GPs entering the profession at a fast enough rate to replace them – and it’s clear that some of our most vulnerable patients are feeling the impact of this most starkly.

“Patients and GP teams deserve better. This is why the College is calling on Government to implement a new recruitment and retention strategy that goes beyond the target of 6,000 GPs pledged in its election manifesto, including initiatives to attract GPs to work in under doctored areas, where our services are often most needed.  Funding for general practice must also be returned to 11% of the total health spend, and better investment in our IT systems and premises is needed, alongside steps to cut bureaucracy so that we have more time to deliver care to the growing numbers of patients who need it.”

Further information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633

Notes to editor

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.