RCGP Scotland response to BMA Scotland survey results on rising GP demand

RCGP Scotland comment in response to BMA Scotland's survey findings on excess workload and capacity.

Commenting on BMA Scotland's survey results on GP pressures, Dr David Shackles, Joint Chair of RCGP Scotland said:

"Today's survey results from BMA Scotland make for grim reading. While many may be shocked by the depth of the crisis facing general practice, those of us working on the frontline of the health service will be unsurprised by these findings. GPs and their teams have worked beyond their limits over the last 20 months and many are now reaching breaking point.

"We have been calling for many years for solutions to the workforce and workload crisis. Findings from the BMA survey found that 83% of practices said that demand was exceeding capacity. The stark reality is that our current GP numbers simply can't meet the demands of patients and unfortunately, there is no quick fix to this problem. However, one thing that would help greatly with this issue is realistic public messaging to ensure that patients are linked in with the right person, in the right place, whenever they require care.

“The longstanding difficulties in general practice – resulting from years of underinvestment of the service – have only been exacerbated by the events of the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent survey of our members showed that 38% of those who responded are unlikely to be working in the profession in the next five years. This is deeply worrying and comes as the result of relentless pressure and burnout, which is undoubtedly contributing to our difficulty in retaining GPs.

"The figures released today on staff abuse are equally worrying; 88% of practices said a member of staff had been subjected to verbal or physical abuse in the last month. This is completely unacceptable. It is clear that this is having a devastating impact on the morale and wellbeing of GPs and we condemn any kind of abuse against GPs and their teams.

"General practice is already working beyond full capacity and with winter pressures looming, there has never been a more critical time to ensure that our profession is properly resourced. We need immediate and tangible efforts to help boost our workforce and retain those already working in the system, as well as realistic public messaging to help manage demand.

"We will continue working alongside the Scottish Government, BMA Scotland and others to provide support to our members as we prepare to navigate through the difficult months that lie ahead."

Further information

(For Media only)

Media requests to Lisa Boyle, Communications Officer.

Telephone: 07388 388 260.

Notes to editor

  1. RCGP Scotland represents a network of around 5,000 doctors in Scotland aiming to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standard of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on resources, education, training, research, and clinical standards.
  2. A recent survey of our members showed that 38% of those who responded are unlikely to be working in the profession in the next five years - Intention to leave the profession statistic from RCGP annual tracking survey of GP attitudes and experiences. 235 responses from GPs working in Scotland. In field from 6 March - 5 April 2021.
  3. Media requests to Lisa Boyle, Communications Officer. Tel: 07388 388 260. lisa.boyle @rcgp.org.uk