‘Patients want a well-funded general practice’ says College Chair

College Chair Professor Kamila Hawthorne responds to a survey by Rebuild General Practice which found that the public and healthcare professionals want the government to prioritise general practice funding. 

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “These results chime very clearly with our own polling: the public – our patients – want a well-funded general practice service that gives them safe and timely access to our services, and more time with their doctor. We know how much patients value their GP, so it makes sense to properly fund our service to ensure patients can get the care they need when they need it. Funding general practice is not only good for the tens of millions of patients we see every month, but given we make the vast majority of NHS patient contacts, it is also of huge benefit to the wider health service. 

“We all – patients, GPs and our teams alike - want a robust and reliable general practice, but longstanding failures in policy and workforce planning are making this impossible as demand continues to outstrip resource. GPs and our teams delivered almost 32.5 million appointments in January – almost 5 million more than in January 2019, yet with 3% fewer fully qualified, full-time equivalent GPs. The average number of patients per fully qualified GP continues to rise and is now 2,294, meaning each GP is, on average, responsible for 154 more patients than there were five years ago. 

“We can't keep doing more with less. We need to see decisive action from the government to turn this dire situation around. Resources must follow patient care and decision makers must recognise that we will need more support as demand for general practice intensifies in coming years. Our manifesto for the forthcoming general election outlines seven solutions that will help improve patient access to safe, timely care and ensure that there are enough GPs to safeguard the future of general practice and the wider NHS.”

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.