‘Every patient should be able to access safe and timely care’ says College Chair

College Chair, Professor Kamila Hawthorne, featured in the Daily Mail responding to a recent report from the Liberal Democrats on the number of patients performing DIY medical treatment on themselves or others due to the difficulties they faced in accessing their GP.

“Every patient who is unwell should be able to access safe, appropriate and timely care and it’s as frustrating for GPs and our teams as it is our patients when they struggle to access our care and services.

“While many minor conditions can be treated safely and effectively at home through self-care, or by accessing other services in the community, people without medical training should not attempt to perform medical treatment on themselves or others - or be put in a position where they feel they have to.

“When people struggle to access our care and services, it is not the fault of hard-working GPs who are trying to do their best for their patients in the most difficult circumstances, that have been getting worse over the last few years. In October, GP teams delivered more than 37 million appointments – 70% of which were face-to-face - over 6 million more than in 2019 yet with 761 fewer qualified, full-time equivalent GPs. Every GP in England is now responsible for 2300 patients and this is unsustainable. We simply don’t have enough GPs to meet demand.

“More GPs are leaving the profession than are entering it. While setting legal requirements for patients to be seen within one week may win votes, in does not reflect the reality of our situation - or acknowledge that many patients prefer accessing care remotely - and will only end up placing further burden on an over-worked and under-resourced profession, potentially forcing more GPs out of the profession. Our recent manifesto outlines seven solutions that will help us increase the number of our GPs and ensure sufficient time and space within our practices to provide timely, safe and appropriate care to our patients and safeguard the future of general practice and the wider NHS. The College would be happy to work with any government to further these solutions.”

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.