GPs are trying their best for all their patients, says College Chair

Kamila Hawthorne, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, appears in today’s media, hitting back at claims that older patients are finding it difficult to see their GP. Professor Hawthorne said:

“GPs and our teams are working incredibly hard, right across the country, to ensure our patients receive the safe, timely and appropriate care they need. Last month, more than 32 million consultations were delivered, up nearly 5 million from September 2019, all with 827 fewer fully qualified, full time GPs.

“While remote appointments are more common than they have been previously, and many patients prefer accessing care in this way, the majority of appointments in general practice continue to be delivered face to face – over 70% last month.

“GP teams will do all they can to accommodate those in need and practices will try to offer patients different ways of both making appointments and accessing care, so as not to exclude those who might not be as comfortable using online systems. However, where practices do have digital triaging systems in place, it is to help ensure patients receive the most appropriate care for their health needs, which may not be from a GP, in as timely a way as possible. If patients are having problems with their surgery's mode of booking appointments, writing to the Practice Manager to explain the problem, or contacting their practice via the practice's Patient Participation Group, are two options that may help rectify the situation.

“We share our patients' frustrations when they have difficulty accessing GP care and services, but this is a result of the intense workload and workforce pressures facing the profession, as a result of years of underfunding in our service and poor workforce planning.

“Our recent manifesto outlines seven solutions that will help improve our patients’ access to safe and timely care and ensure we have enough GPs and other primary care professionals 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.