RCGP responds to the Lib Dems’ warning of the GP “retirement time bomb”

Responding to the Liberal Democrats’ warning on the GP “retirement time bomb”, Dr Victoria Tzortziou-Brown, Vice Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners said: "Our own College surveys show that as many as 22,000 GPs could leave the profession in the next five years, without urgent action to tackle workload and workforce pressures. These aren’t just GPs approaching retirement age, but at all stages of their careers, often citing stress and burnout as reasons.

"GPs and their teams are working incredibly hard to deliver millions more appointments every month than before the pandemic, with almost half of these on the day of booking. But we are doing this with 930 fewer fully qualified, full-time-equivalent GPs than in 2019.

"The much-anticipated Workforce Plan should be a key opportunity for the Government to make clear how this situation can be turned around. We need to see a fully worked-out plan that commits to increasing the number of GPs with revitalised GP retention schemes.

“Even with an increased workforce, targets on GP access need to be clinically appropriate and tailored to patient needs. Not every patient will need to be seen within a week, as the Liberal Democrats are proposing, and imposing such a target could perversely impact on patients who want to book regular or routine appointments in advance.

"The bottom line is, we need a GP workforce that is supported to provide the care our patients need, innovate and thrive. We need to see a bold new plan from the Government that goes beyond the target of 6,000 more GPs it pledged in its election manifesto. Our patients deserve safe, timely and appropriate care and GPs need to be able to deliver this without compromising their own health and wellbeing.”

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.