‘We treat the whole person, not the condition’, says College Chair

Responding to the Chief Medical Officer’s Annual Report - Health in an Ageing Society, Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“While it’s a testament to advances in medicine that patients are living for longer - as they do; they are often living with multiple, chronic health conditions. This is something that GPs and our teams are highly trained to manage and treat, and we are pleased this is recognised in the latest CMO’s report.

“GPs are experts in caring for patients living with multiple health conditions, helping them to manage their conditions, and building relationships with them over time. We treat the whole person, rather than individual conditions. Our older patients also really value the continuity of care having your own family doctor can provide - being cared for by a doctor who knows you is a precious commodity.

“Today’s report highlights the utmost importance in resourcing general practice appropriately for the future, given that as our patients grow older and have more complex health conditions, need for GP care grows in both volume and complexity.

“General practice is already facing intense workload and workforce pressures, following years of inadequate funding and poor workforce planning. In September, GPs delivered more than 32 million appointments, nearly 5 million more than the same month 2019, but with 827 fewer fully-qualified, full time GPs.

“As the report suggests, demand on general practice is only going to intensify – so decisive measures must be taken now to ensure GPs and our teams can deliver the care our ageing patients need now and in the future. We recently set out our manifesto, outlining seven steps needed to improve care for patients and safeguard the future of general practice and the wider NHS, including measures to enhance patient safety and a fully-funded national retention scheme to encourage existing GPs to remain in the profession.”

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.