15 April 2014

RCGP Response to Government Announcement on 'Transforming Primary Care'

Measures to give GPs more resources to deliver flexible opening hours and personalised care show that the Government is beginning to address the chronic lack of investment in primary care, the RCGP has said.

Responding to today's announcement of funding to support extended opening hours and enhanced local care, RCGP Chair Dr Maureen Baker said:

"We have long been campaigning for GPs to be given the resources to transform care for our patients.

"These measures show that politicians are starting to understand that if we continue to let general practice wither on the vine, patient care will be put at risk.

"We agree that action is needed to ensure that people of working age and busy families are able to access their GP quickly when they need to, and we look forward to assessing the results of the Government's £50m pilot.

"But plans to extend opening hours in pilot practices must not be pursued at the expense of enabling GPs to spend time with our most complex patients - particularly the vulnerable elderly, most of whom are living with more than one long term illness. The identification of £250 million this year to support GPs to provide more proactive care for these patients is therefore something we particularly welcome.

"We're particularly pleased that the Government has recognised that the right approach is not to impose these changes from the top down but to give GPs themselves the chance to take the initiative and bid for funding. The fact that 1,100 practices have come forward to try out new ways of working shows that GPs want to be given the opportunity to provide more flexible care tailored to peoples needs in their communities, as long as the funding is there.

“This is good news but further investment in general practice still is needed, not just this year but in the future.

“General practice is still suffering the effects of years of underfunding – and with continued growing demand, GPs are at breaking point. RCGP research has shown that GPs are routinely making upwards of 60 patient contacts a day, working 11-hour days in clinic. This is neither safe nor sustainable for GPs, our patients, or the NHS.

"The Government and NHS England need to acknowledge and act on our calls for general practice to receive 11% of the overall NHS budget by 2017. And as well as addressing the issue of GP recruitment, we must also make moves to address GP retention and the unnecessary barriers that discourage GPs from returning to the profession.

“We look forward to working with the four UK governments, Health Education England, and other bodies to make this a reality and equip general practice with the resources that we desperately need to deliver excellent care to all of our patients.”

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.