RCGP calls for immediate action on GP workforce pressures

The College has responded to a new report from the Nuffield Trust, showing patients can face an uphill struggle to see a GP.

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “The current government promised 6,000 more GPs by 2024 and it has not even come close to delivering them. The number of full-time equivalent, fully qualified GPs has actually gone down, and unsustainable workloads have become the new normal for general practice. GPs and our teams delivered almost 32.5 million appointments in January 2024 – almost 5 million more than in January 2019, yet with 3% fewer fully qualified, full-time equivalent GPs. 

“Without immediate action to alleviate the pressures on general practice, the future of the profession – and the care we’re able to deliver to patients – is uncertain. The average number of patients per fully qualified GP continues to rise and is now 2,294, meaning each GP is, on average, responsible for 154 more patients than there were five years ago – and patients in some areas are more impacted than others. As this Nuffield Trust report says, this must be addressed as a matter of urgency.

“GPs and our teams have been working incredibly hard to plug the gaps, but we can’t keep doing more with less. We are training more and more GPs but losing them, from all stages of their careers, faster than we are gaining them. We need significant investment and further efforts to increase the GP workforce – especially in retaining GPs, or this situation will only get worse. We particularly need ring-fenced national funding for retention schemes across the UK, aimed at retaining both early and late-career GPs. Our manifesto outlines seven solutions – including funding for recruitment and retention – to improve patient access to safe, timely and appropriate care, and ensure that there are enough GPs to safeguard the future of general practice.”

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.