Safe, timely and appropriate care can be delivered both in person and remotely, says College Chair

Responding to the latest Pulse survey on the number of GPs able to offer patients a face-to-face appointment, Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Safe, timely and appropriate care can be delivered both in person and remotely. We know some patients prefer seeing their GP face to face, and many GPs prefer this way of consulting, but some patients find remote care a convenient and effective way of accessing GP services.

As such, most practices offer a mixed method of delivering consultations – what these survey results show is that regardless of how care is delivered, GP teams are working under intense workload and workforce pressure, and this is impacting on how long patients have to wait to access our services.

“GPs and our teams are delivering millions more appointments every month than before the pandemic, with more than 43% of these on the day they were booked in June and approximately 70% carried out face to face. This is despite having almost a thousand fewer qualified, full-time equivalent GPs in the workforce than in 2019.

“GPs are as frustrated as our patients when we struggle to deliver the care they need in a safe, timely and appropriate way. This is due to years of underfunding in our service and poor workforce planning. We need to see the foundations of the recently announced long-term workforce plan laid now, alongside significant investment for hugely improved retention initiatives - curbing the rate at which GPs leave the profession and encouraging new GPs into the workforce."

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.