New stats show Government must urgently address GP pressures and rising cost of living

Responding to ONS figures on the impact of winter pressures between 22 November to 18 November last year, Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said the following.

“It’s as frustrating for GPs and our teams as our patients when they are unable to access our care and services in a safe, timely and appropriate way. But this is not due to lack of trying on the part of GP teams. We are consistently delivering more consultations every month than before the pandemic and are doing so with falling numbers of fully-trained, full time equivalent GPs. It is a result of years of under-funding in general practice and poor workforce planning.

“General practice is the foundation of the NHS. GPs and our teams are delivering the vast majority of NHS patient care, and in doing so alleviating pressures across the health service, including in emergency departments. But the service is struggling and as these statistics show, this is impacting on the care we’re able to deliver to patients. This must be addressed as a matter of urgency with bold plans to build the GP workforce and reduce unnecessary bureaucracy to give us more time with our patients.

“What’s also really worrying to see in these statistics is the extent to how rising costs of food and energy are impacting on our patients. This will clearly have a knock on impact on their physical and mental health, and GPs are seeing this in our surgeries every day. It’s vital that the Government ensures that patients, particularly our most vulnerable patients - the elderly, those with chronic illnesses, and those below the poverty line, especially families with children - whose health is most likely to be adversely affected, are protected against rising food prices and energy bills.”

Further information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633

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.