GPs pulling out all the stops to deliver care to children despite pressures

Kamila Hawthorne has been interviewed on Sky News this morning responding to a survey by Mumsnet that has shown parents have had difficulties accessing NHS services. Our full response:

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “GPs and our teams will pull out all the stops to ensure our patients receive timely, safe and appropriate care - especially when it is children who are sick and in need.

“Unfortunately, these survey results are yet another sad indictment of the current crisis in our NHS. GPs and our teams - indeed colleagues working right across the NHS - are trying to deliver care under intense workload and workforce pressures. Parents should be confident that their child will receive care if they need it, and we will try our very best to ensure this happens, but there’s a limit to what we can safely and sustainably do.

“We share our patients’ frustrations when they have difficulty accessing our services, and those of parents trying to access them for their children - but this is not the fault of hard-working GPs and our teams. It is years of under-funding in the service and poor workforce planning.

“In general practice, we’re making more consultations every month than we were before the pandemic, and over the last few weeks we’ve seen much higher than normal rates of strep and other infectious illnesses, such as flu and RSV, with high numbers of parents understandably concerned and seeking our services. But whilst workload is escalating, the number of fully-qualified, full time equivalent GPs has fallen by 737 since 2019 - despite the Government’s pledge in its manifesto to increase GP numbers by 6,000.

“We need the Government to recognise this crisis and urgently act to address it. General practice is the foundation of the NHS, with GPs and our teams making the vast majority of patient contacts, and in doing so we alleviate pressures across the service, including in A&E, but we are struggling. We need a robust workforce plan to recruit and retain GPs that goes beyond the 6,000 promised, we need investment in general practice, including into our IT and infrastructure, we need urgent action to cut bureaucracy that takes GPs away from patients.”

Further information

RCGP Press office - 0203 188 7659

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.