New poll demonstrates need to invest in general practice - RCGP responds to BSA survey

The College responds to new British Social Attitudes (BSA) public polling from the King’s Fund, showing low levels of public satisfaction with the NHS and support for further investment.

Dr Victoria Tzortziou-Brown, Vice Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “It is always distressing and disheartening to see patient satisfaction with general practice, and the NHS more widely, continue to fall. We know how much our patients value the care and services GPs and our teams offer, and we share their frustration when they struggle to secure timely appointments. Unfortunately, we simply do not have enough GPs to keep up with the increasing need for our care.  

“Hardworking GPs and our teams are being stretched to breaking point. We delivered almost 32.5 million appointments in January – 4.7 million more than in January 2019 – all with 3% fewer fully-qualified, full-time equivalent GPs. We can’t keep doing more with less.   

“General practice has been severely neglected by years of underfunding and poor workforce planning. Today’s survey clearly shows the public wants more investment in the NHS, and that’s what we want too. General practice is the bedrock of the NHS, making the majority of patient contacts and keeping people out of hospital where care is more expensive - but it needs significant investment, and urgent efforts to both retain the existing GP workforce and recruit more GPs, or this situation will continue to get worse.    

“The survey reflects our own polling, which showed more than three quarters of the public (78%) support more funding for general practice if it would reduce appointment waiting times, with 84% believing the next government should increase the number of GPs to make it easier to book an appointment. 

“Our manifesto for the upcoming General Election outlines seven solutions for all political parties to take heed of – including funding for recruitment and retention of GPs, and initiatives to allow GPs to spend more time with patients – which would improve patient access to safe, timely and appropriate care, and safeguard the future of general practice, and the NHS as a whole.”  

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.