5 June 2015

RCGP Response to RCEM and Patients Association Report on Urgent Care

Responding to the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) and the Patients Association report ‘Time to Act – Urgent Care and A&E: the Patient Perspective’, launched today, Professor Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“Family doctors already make a valuable contribution to Emergency Departments, both by working in them – and by treating patients in the community, keeping them out of hospital.

“Our report into GP out of hours providers, launched earlier this year, found that 59% of out of hours services are either led or run by GPs with the remainder also staffed largely by family doctors.

“What is concerning, is that 45% of people do not know how to access GP services out of hours, according to the latest GP Patient Survey. Instead of moving towards having these services located within A&E departments, more needs to be done to raise awareness of them, so that patients know where to turn when they fall ill in the evenings or at weekends.

“The College strongly supports integrated services and the need for new models of patient care, but decisions about which models are implemented and how need to be made in the best interests of the local population.

“In some cases, this might involve GPs working within A&E departments, but we believe that it is best for most health economies – and patients – that new models of care are GP-led and promote collaborative working across larger geographic areas.

“Our patients want to be treated in the community, closer to home, so we must ensure that our GP surgeries are properly staffed before we divert any of our resources to hospitals.

“GPs and our teams currently make 90% of all NHS patient contacts for just over 8% of the overall budget. Whilst we are making 370m patient consultations every year – 70m more than five years ago – our workforce has remained relatively stagnant.

“We are calling for 8000 more GPs and for general practice to receive 11% of the NHS budget over the course of the next parliament, so that we can continue to support the rest of the health service and deliver the care our patients need and deserve, where they need it.”

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.