07 April 2017

Too Many Practices Being Forced to Close Due to Workload and GP Shortages, Says RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to figures on GP practice closures and the subsequent impact this is having on patients' access to their local family doctor.

She said: “GP practices are the lifeblood of our local communities so the complete closure of any practice will always be a last resort when all other options have proved unworkable.

“Unfortunately, too many practices are being forced to close because GPs and their teams can no longer cope with ever-growing patient demand without the necessary funding and workforce to deal with it. This has serious consequences for patient safety and the wellbeing of hard working family doctors and their practice teams.

“Of course, this is not true of every case and practices might decide merge in order to pool their resources to provide additional services or better appointment access which is in the best interests of patients.

“But it is important that this is done in a way that involves minimal disruption to the care and services being delivered, particularly in remote and rural areas where access to care can be more difficult.

“NHS England’s GP Forward View could be a lifeline for our profession after years of declining investment and a workforce that has not risen in step with patient demand.

“However, the College’s interim assessment in January found that while progress is being made nationally,  support is not reaching GPs at the frontline of patient care. It would seem that today’s findings back this up.

“The £40m practice resilience fund promises to help practices struggling to keep afloat, but GPs need to able to access this money without having to wade through convoluted red tape so that it can be ploughed directly into patient care and services as quickly as possible.

“The College will continue to work closely with NHS England and others to ensure that all pledges in the GP Forward View – including the resilience programme – are implemented effectively in the best interests of general practice, the wider NHS and patients.”

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633
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.