Simply not enough GPs to meet demand

Responding to the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee’s report on workforce burnout and resilience in the NHS and social care, published today, Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said the following:

“GPs have been working under intense workload and workforce pressures for more than a decade and these have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. General practice has made a remarkable contribution to the pandemic effort with GPs and our teams working flat out, delivering essential care to patients - a record of nearly 14 million consultations were delivered in the four weeks from mid-April to mid-May – as well as their leading role in the COVID vaccination programme, with 75% of vaccinations being administered in primary care.

“This report by the Health and Social Care Select Committee highlights the intense pressure that colleagues have faced across the health service - much of it as a direct result of inadequate staff numbers and workforce planning for the future. We simply don’t have enough GPs or other members of the practice team to meet demand and general practice is only set to get busier as we support our communities’ recovery from the pandemic.

“We urgently need to see action from government to resolve the workforce pressures facing general practice including delivering on their pledge of 6,000 more GPs and thousands more members of the wider practice team by 2024/2025. There is still a long way to go. We have seen success in recent years in encouraging more medical students and foundation doctors to choose general practice as a profession, but we need to see more initiatives in place to retain experienced GPs in the workforce, including by tackling ‘undoable’ workload and preventing them from burning out. This will help to make the job of a GP more manageable again so that we keep hardworking and dedicated GPs where they want to be – caring for patients, as well as ensure patients can continue to have access to the care that they need.”

Further information

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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.