19 September 2013

RCGP Responds to Health Secretary's Speech on Future of Primary Care

The RCGP have responded to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt's speech on the future of primary care at the King's Fund.

RCGP Chair, Dr Clare Gerada, said: "We welcome the Health Secretary's intention to shift the focus from hospitals to primary care, which is essential if we are to restore the NHS to a sustainable footing.

"GPs are the biggest champions of many of the things to which Mr Hunt refers - care planning, continuity and taking a proactive approach. We would be keen to explore how the savings generated by GPs in reducing unplanned admissions to hospital could be ploughed back into practices and spent on more care for patients.

"We are also pleased that he recognises the urgent need to tackle the shortage of family doctors on the ground, and that he rightly sees the dire need to recruit more GPs in order that safe patient care can continue to be delivered in the community.

"We agree that if practices are to be given the right to opt back into out-of-hours provision, they must also retain the option to opt out.

"While we welcome any efforts to reduce bureaucracy, we must ensure the Government does not promote simplifications of the QOF as a substitute for extra resources.

"However, this speech will not end the crisis in general practice. We urgently need a clear commitment for sufficient funding to enable general practice to deliver more services for their patients.

"GPs carry out 90% of patient contacts within the NHS but receive only 9% of the budget. We are creaking under the strain of ever-increasing workloads, with dwindling resources. 85% of GPs think general practice has reached crisis point and 49% think they can no longer guarantee safe patient care. Four in five GPs are concerned that they will not be able to deliver continuity of care to vulnerable older people - identified by Mr Hunt as a top priority.

"We urge Mr Hunt to be bolder in recognising the need for a shift in NHS expenditure - so that general practice receives its fair share of NHS funding and GPs can deliver the care that our patients need and deserve."

Further Information

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


The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 44,000 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.