Current onslaught having dangerous impact on the wellbeing of GP teams and relationships with patients, says College

The College was quoted in an article in The Observer this Sunday on the impact of recent public criticism about access to GP services on GPs and our teams.

Read the College’s statement in full:

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “The criticism that has been directed towards GPs and our teams in some parts of the media and by some politicians in recent weeks has been some of the worst in memory. It’s incredibly demoralising and unfair when you’re working hard, trying to do your best for patients in as safe a way as possible, to consistently be told you’re not doing enough.

“It’s having a dangerous impact on the mental health and wellbeing of GPs and our teams, but also our relationship with our patients, with numerous reports of practice staff being on the receiving end of abuse from frustrated patients. GPs share the frustrations of patients, who are finding it more challenging to access our services but it is entirely unacceptable for anyone working in general practice to be at the receiving end of abuse of any kind.

“The root of the criticism is based on a concerning narrative that remote consultations are sub-standard. They are not always appropriate, which is why almost 6 in ten consultations are being made in person, but good care can also be delivered remotely – and some patients prefer it. The onslaught completely disregards the excellent work that is happening in general practice on a daily basis, in the face of intense workload and workforce pressures. Almost 24m consultations were made in August – 46% on the same day they were requested, and 58% in person. And GPs and our teams continue to play a leading role in the Covid vaccination programme, which has vaccinated almost 90% of the country’s adult population.

“Our primary fear is that this unfair scrutiny, on top of existing pressures, will be the final straw for many GPs and other practice team members, causing them to leave the profession before their time.

“The Government needs to demonstrate its public support for general practice and urgently take steps to make good on their promise of 6,000 more GPs and 26,000 more members of the practice team – as well as introducing measures to tackle ‘undoable’ workload in general practice. GPs and our teams and our patients are on the same side – and we cannot afford to be turned against one another.”

Further information

(For Media only)

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575

Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

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.