7 March 2015

RCGP Chair Comment on Easter Opening

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has commented on plans for GP practices to open over the Easter holiday.

She said: “It is vital that patients have access to the appropriate GP services at holiday times and, as happened at Christmas, many GPs and their teams will be working flat out to provide care for patients over the Easter period.

“But politicians must be aware that hard pressed GPs are going the extra mile to do this – and that we will need extra investment in general practice and many more GPs if this is to become more widespread.

“There will also be some cases where practices will not be able to open because there are simply not enough GPs to run clinics.

“When surgeries are going to be closed over bank holiday weekends, it is important that patients are informed in good time about opening times and how to access out of hours services – the majority of which are still led and run by GPs, as demonstrated by a recent RCGP report

“Everyone should be able to see their GP when they need to and GPs want to provide high-quality care for every patient but family doctors are already struggling to cope with rising numbers of patients and increasingly limited resources.

“Over 90% of patients contacts in the NHS are managed in general practice and we are now seeing 370m patients a year – 70m more than even five years ago and 150,000 more patients per day.

“Yet as the number or patients has rocketed, the share of the NHS budget for general practice has fallen year on year and is now at an all-time low of just over 8%.

“We also have a severe shortage of GPs, with many coming up to retirement age and not enough medical students going into general practice to replace them.

“We are calling for the share of the  NHS budget for general practice to be increased to 11% by 2017 -  and for 8,000 more GPs in England by 2020 – so that we can provide more care and services to patients in their communities.

“NHS England is working with us to deliver a ‘new deal’ for general practice that will make it easier to recruit new GPs, retain the ones we have and attract those who have taken a career break back into the profession.

“With more investment and more GPs, we can ensure that patients get the care they need, when they need it.”

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7581
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.