Royal College of GPs response to Health Foundation report warning of escalating crisis in general practice

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, says:

“These findings from the Health Foundation make for bleak but unfortunately familiar reading – they show that the Government must act to mitigate these projections, and ensure their worst-case scenario projections do not become a reality, which would be a disaster for patient care and the NHS as a whole.

“The research chimes with the findings from the College which has shown almost 19,000 GPs plan to leave the profession in the next five years. Key reasons cited, other than retirement, include stress, burnout, a lack of job satisfaction – and members have told us they lack the time to deliver the care that they want to deliver for patients, and that patients need. That the Health Foundation have found such stark findings about practice nurses, as well as GPs, is very concerning.

“GPs and our teams have been working under intense workload and workforce pressures for many years, but the pandemic has exacerbated these pressures. More consultations are being made every month in general practice than before the pandemic, and the care being delivered is increasingly complex. Yet, although recruitment efforts mean more GPs are in training than ever before, numbers of fully trained, full-time equivalent GPs are falling.

“Our campaign, Fit for the Future, launched last week, offers solutions to Government and decision makers to make general practice sustainable for the future. We need to see a new recruitment and retention strategy that allows us to go beyond the current government target of 6,000 more GPs; further efforts to free up GPs’ time to spend with patients by cutting unnecessary red tape; and improvements to patients’ experience of accessing care to make it easier for patients to choose to see the same GP or the next available member of the team. We also want to see funding for general practice to return to 11% of the total NHS budget and significant investment in GP premises.

“Our survey showed 80% of respondents think things are going to get worse rather than better. We are calling on the Government to heed our calls, to protect our patients, our profession, and the rest of the NHS.”

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 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.