21 April 2015

RCGP Response to BMA Survey on GP Workforce

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “These findings confirm what the College has been saying for some time about the chronic lack of family doctors across the country, and the devastating impact this could have on the future of general practice, the wider NHS, and most importantly, our patients.

“Highly trained and experienced GPs are leaving the profession in growing numbers because of the intense and increasing pressures that we are facing, and not enough medical students are entering general practice to replace them. This is a genuine danger to patient safety – and to the wellbeing of hardworking family doctors and our teams.

“Despite our best efforts to conduct 90% of NHS patient contacts for just 8.4% of the budget, we simply don’t have enough GPs to cope with the increasing demand of our growing and ageing population.

“It costs £247,000 to put a family doctor through post-graduate training, so we must do whatever we can to ‘recruit, retain, and return’ as many GPs to frontline patient care in the UK as possible.

“We need to implement robust plans to turn the tide, such as our joint 10-point plan, launched earlier this year with NHS England, Health Education England, and the BMA. This includes introducing incentives for existing family doctors to stay in the profession as long as possible, and for medical students to consider general practice as a career.

“General practice is the cornerstone of the NHS – we keep it sustainable and safe for patients, but we urgently need more resources and more GPs if we are going to be able to keep doing this.

“The College is calling for general practice to receive 11% of the NHS budget and to recruit an additional 10,000 GPs across the UK by 2020. This would allow us to deliver more services for patients, away from hospitals, where care is more expensive, and close to home, where our patients want and need care most.”

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7581
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

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.