16 December 2016

Patients Always Able to See a GP When They Need to, Says RCGP

Chair of the RCGP, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, has responded to a front-page story in the Dail Mail today about out-of-hours care in general practice, claiming that millions of patients still aren't able to see their GP during these times.

She said: "Extending GP surgery opening hours means taking staff and other resources away from our routine service, which is already stretched incredibly thinly due to years of decline in investment.

"We understand that patients can't determine when they will be poorly but opening our surgeries for longer isn't the solution. Many practices across the country have been offering routine services in the evening and at weekends, but patient demand has been so low that they have had to stop.

"Patients should always be able see a GP when they need to, either through our routine service or GP out of hours services. What we need do need is more integration between the two - and more public information for patients, so that they know what services are available, and when.

"We must start trusting that our GPs know their local populations best, and allow them to make decisions in the best interests of their patients' care with the resources and staff they have available - not simply to tick boxes. In some cases this will mean offering extended opening, but as we have seen in many cases, it won't."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659


The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 50,000 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.