Practice closures show how general practice is struggling and needs support, says College

The College has responded to an investigation by Pulse magazine showing 474 GP practices have closed since 2013.

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “The impact of a practice closing can be considerable for its patients and neighbouring practices. As such, a decision to close a practice will be one of the most difficult a GP partner can make. There may be many reasons for a practice to close, in some instances it may be that it is merging with another in order to pool resources, but when the reason for closing a practice is workload pressures, and not being able to fill vacancies, then this needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

“General practice is the bedrock of the NHS with GPs and our teams making the vast majority of patient contacts and in turn alleviating pressures across the service, including in A&E. It works by providing cost-effective care close to home in patients’ communities. But it is a service that is struggling and it needs support. We don’t want to see patients having to travel for miles to be able to receive GP care.

“This is why the College is calling on the Government for a new recruitment and retention strategy that goes beyond the 6,000 more GPs pledged in its manifesto, plus investment in our IT systems and steps to cut bureaucracy so that we can deliver safe, high-quality care for our patients.”

Further information

RCGP Press office: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 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.