19 June 2015

RCGP Response to Health Secretary's Announcement on 'First Step in a New Deal for GPs'

RCGP pleased Secretary of State publicly acknowledging the value of general practice, with the College credited for making compelling case for more investment in general practice

RCGP Chair Dr Maureen Baker said:

“We are really pleased that the Secretary of State is publicly acknowledging the value of general practice and the sterling job done by hardworking GPs up and down the country every day on behalf of their patients – after years of GPs being used as a whipping post by successive governments.

“The College is credited widely for making a very compelling case for more investment in general practice –  including thousands more GPs – and the emphasis that Mr Hunt places on boosting our workforce by  ‘recruiting, retaining and returning’ GPs shows that he is listening to us.

“The Secretary of State makes many commitments which, if they come to fruition, will put general practice on a more stable and secure footing for the future and ensure that family doctors can keep pace with rocketing patient demand and increasingly complex caseloads.

“What we need now is a clear and costed plan for turning this into a reality – and a timescale for how quickly this can be delivered.

"As Mr Hunt describes, many practices are already providing extended opening hours in the evening and at weekends and access to GPs for urgent care is available through GP out of hours services 24/7.

"But without this additional funding and sufficient numbers of GPs, it is simply not possible for us to deliver a seven day service for routine care in every general practice, especially when there are currently huge swathes of the country where the GP shortages are so severe that they are struggling to provide even a five day service.

“We believe that the emphasis should be on strengthening and better resourcing for existing GP out of hours services, staffed in the main by local GPs – and on ensuring that patients and the public are aware of the services that are available to them so that they can have better access to the skills of a GP 24/7 when they need them.

“We have long said that transparency and metrics can play an important role but this has previously been used as a blunt instrument, with indicators that don’t relate well to general practice and our patients. We feel that the way forward outlined by Mr Hunt today provides us with the opportunity to make a fresh start in this area of quality improvement.

“With family doctors flailing under a mountain of red tape and form-filling, we would also like to work with the Government as part of its drive to cut bureaucracy. We hope that this will include a review of CQC inspections and regulatory processes.

“Today’s speech moves us a step further to delivering the new deal for general practice. Our post-election Blueprint for the future of general practice calls for urgent action in five main areas and we will continue to work with Mr Hunt and the Government to make sure that they deliver on the promises and pledges made before the election, for the sake of patients and GPs everywhere.”
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.