07 January 2014

RCGP Response to BMJ Investigation of NHS 111 Service

RCGP Chair says GPs want successful service despite expanded workload

Responding to reports by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) that NHS England are planning to give patients fast-track GP appointments through the NHS 111 service, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, Dr Maureen Baker, said:

"GPs want to work with NHS England to ensure NHS 111 is a success, but they are already drowning under the weight of ever ballooning workloads - due to increasing patient demand and declining resources.

"While it may well be appropriate for patients to have contact with a GP, in person or over the phone, such decisions must be taken in partnership with practices, and must not compromise patient safety by adding to GPs already excessive workloads.

"A recent poll commissioned by the RCGP showed that half of GPs already feel their workloads have expanded so much in recent years that they can no longer guarantee safe patient care.

"GPs conduct 90% of the NHS contacts for just 8.39% of the NHS budget. They cannot be expected to take on additional work - unless resourcing for general practice is substantially increased, allowing for greater numbers of GPs to be taken on, who could work in a more flexible and responsive way.

"For general practice to have the appropriate level of resourcing to manage demand and alleviate pressures on other parts of the NHS, it will need 11% of the overall NHS budget by 2017."

Further Information

RCGP Press office - 020 3188 7574/7575/7576
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.