01 January 2017

Seven Day GP Service Could not be Achieved Without 'Serious Impact' on Weekday Services, Says RCGP

Number of GPs has not kept pace with patient demand

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners said:

 "GPs are working flat out to do the best they can for their patients, but with a severe shortage of family doctors already seeing record numbers of people, there is no way that a seven day routine service could be delivered without having a serious impact on services through the week.

"Patients can always see a GP through the out of hours service when they urgently need one. But there is a distinction between 'need' and 'want' and there is very little evidence to show that patients want or need to see a GP for non-urgent care on a Sunday afternoon.

"If GPs have to be available on Sundays, as most are already working at the limits of what is safe, then it would inevitably reduce the availability of doctors to provide patient care during the week and that doesn't help anyone.

"There are 1.3m patient consultations in general practice every day and we are seeing 60m more patients every year than we were even five years ago.

"But the number of GPs has not kept pace with patient demand and while we are seeing as many patients as we can, patient safety - and doctors' own health - must be paramount.

"We are now seeing the impact of a decade of under-investment in the family doctor service. We need NHS England to honour the pledges made in its GP Forward View and for all the governments of the UK to invest in general practice - including more GPs as well as other community healthcare professionals - as a matter of urgency so that we can offer a robust and safe service during the week when our patients need us most."

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.