Protect patients by looking after hardworking GPs who provide their care, says College
Publication date: 23 August 2021
We have responded to a study on worsening GP turnover, published today by the University of Manchester.
Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs and a GP in East London, said: “These figures are hugely worrying – not just for general practice but for patients and the rest of the NHS.
Unfortunately, they only confirm what we have been saying for many years.
“Pressures in the NHS are not confined to hospitals. Even before the pandemic, the job of GPs was largely undoable, but the profession is now at breaking point.
“Consultation rates are at an all-time high and we do not have enough GPs to meet the needs of a growing and ageing population, with increasingly complex conditions, on top of managing the fallout and work backlog from the pandemic.
“Workload pressures and burnout are having a huge impact on GPs. The College’s own recent surveys show that six in ten GPs say their mental health has deteriorated in the last year - and 63% say they expect things to get worse over the next five years. 34% of GPs expect to leave within five years - a quarter due to stress and burnout - meaning over 14,000 GPs could be lost from frontline patient care.
“We have presented the Health Secretary and new Chief Executive of the NHS with a five-point emergency rescue package for general practice that provides realistic solutions for halting the crisis and protecting the care of our patients by investing in the hardworking GPs and their teams who provide that care.
“We urgently need progress on the 2019 Conservative manifesto target of 6000 more full time equivalent (FTE) GPs in the next three years, and the recruitment and integration of at least 26,000 other members of staff into the general practice workforce by 2024.
“We are also calling for a system-wide programme to eradicate bureaucratic burdens and unnecessary workload, to prevent GP burnout and allow GPs more time to care for patients.
“GPs have been running on empty for too long, yet if we invest in general practice the entire NHS reaps the benefit. However, if general practice is allowed to collapse, the rest of the NHS won’t be far behind.”
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Notes to editor
The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 53,000 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.