13 October 2016

Vulnerable Practices Should Be Supported - Not Allowed to 'Wither On The Vine', Says RCGP in Response to Claims That Practices in Yorkshire and the Humber are Closing

Chair of the RCGP, Dr Maureen Baker, has issued a statement on behalf of the RCGP in response to a leaked NHS England document which states that some vulnerable GP practices in England will be allowed to fail and close.

She said: “GP practices are at the heart of our local communities, our patients rely on them, and it is wrong to suggest that, because practices are vulnerable, they do not provide high quality care or are resistant to change.  

"Just six months ago the Government and NHS England launched a strategy to save general practice and NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens has himself said: 'If general practice fails, the NHS fails'.

"Yet this shocking statement directly contradicts this ambition.

"General practice conducts 90% of all NHS contacts, seeing 1.3m patients per day. If practices are allowed to go to the wall, thousands of patients could be left without a practice.

“Practices can be vulnerable for many different reasons, such as problems in recruiting, financial pressures and rocketing patient demand against the backdrop of a decade of dwindling resource.
“Far from leaving them to ‘wither on the vine’, NHS England’s resilience programme ought to be identifying practices that are at risk of closure and providing them with immediate practical assistance.  If this is not happening it is very concerning and we will be raising this with NHS England.

“It is essential that the resilience funding is delivered swiftly to those practices that are currently most at risk of closure.

“If general practice is allowed to buckle, it will plunge the entire NHS into jeopardy. We urge Simon Stevens to make clear that any strategy to stop support for general practices is contrary to the GP Forward View and totally unacceptable."

She added: “We have now spoken to NHS England at a senior level and they have assured us that they remain fully committed to supporting vulnerable practices and getting the money to them with the maximum possible speed – and that they will be looking at what further action they need to take to ensure that this policy intention is translated into reality on the ground.”

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.