‘We can’t keep doing more with less’, RCGP responds to Lib Dem research

Dr Victoria Tzortziou-Brown, Vice Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, featured in the Mirror and Mail Online responding to the latest research from the Lib Dems on waiting times for GP appointments. Dr Tzortziou-Brown said:

“GPs share our patients' frustrations when they can't access our care and services when they need to. We’re working really hard to ensure patients are receiving safe and timely care, and in February (the latest data available) 44% of appointments were delivered on the day they were booked - it’s also worth noting that many appointments that are made several weeks ahead are completely appropriate, for example for routine or review appointments.

“But we are worried that many patients report struggling to see their GP - and that they don’t have enough time with us when they do secure an appointment. The bottom line is that we don't have enough GPs to keep up with the growing need for our care, and patients are feeling the impact most.

"The average number of patients per fully qualified GP continues to rise and is now a shocking 2,298, meaning each GP is, on average, responsible for 158 more patients than they were five years ago. Unmanageable and unsustainable workloads have become the new norm for GPs and our teams, and we can't keep doing more with less.

“General practice is suffering from years of underfunding and poor workforce planning - and introducing arbitrary access targets is certainly not the answer. We need significant investment and dramatic efforts to increase GP numbers, especially to retain the current workforce, or this situation will only get worse. Our manifesto outlines seven solutions – including funding for recruitment and retention initiatives - to ensure that there are enough GPs to safeguard the future of general practice. This is the only real route to improving our patients’ access to safe, timely and appropriate GP care - and all political parties need to take heed.”

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.