GPs predict longer waiting times - survey

Stethoscope The Royal College of GPs surveyed just over 200 GPs

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Patients will find it more difficult to see a GP in the future as budgets get squeezed, doctors are predicting.

A Royal College of General Practitioners poll of 206 UK GPs found that more than 70% were forecasting longer waiting times within two years.

Eight in 10 also said they did not have enough resources to provide high-quality care, the survey showed.

A Patients Association report this year suggested that people were already having to wait longer.

Six in 10 of those polled by the royal college said patients in England were waiting longer than the recommended 48 hours.

Primary care, which includes GP services, has been one of the worst hit by the funding squeeze in the health service.

Spending has effectively been frozen for the past six years in England, and while there have been rises in funding elsewhere in the UK, they have been smaller compared with those given to other parts of the health service such as hospitals.

'Breaking point'

The RCGP said this situation was beginning to have an impact.

Chairman Dr Clare Gerada said: "GPs are grappling with a double whammy of spiralling workloads and dwindling resources, and big cracks are starting to appear in the care and services that we can deliver for our patients.

"We are particularly concerned about the effect this is having, and will continue to have, on waiting times for GP appointments.

"The profession is now at breaking point and we do not have the capacity to take on any more work without extra funding and resources to back it up."

The poll showed that 78% of GPs had already seen a reduction in opening hours over the past two years, while nearly half had cut back on the range of services they offered.

Ben Dyson, of NHS England, said: "We fully recognise that demands and patterns of healthcare are changing, and that this is increasing pressure on parts of the NHS.

"That's why we have recently published a call to action about the future of general practice to help stimulate new, innovative approaches to providing services and ensuring every patient gets the care they need."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    My GP has reduced his opening hours, banned telephone requests for prescriptions and you are lucky to get an appointment within two weeks let alone two days if you question the policies you are told to go elsewhere. GP's have too much control over their working hours and should be made to offer a minimum level of service for the amount they are paid.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Doctors got a massive pay rise and were told they could pick and choose their own hours. Legally compel them to offer out of hours service including weekends like they used to. Make consultants work weekends and nights at hospitals. Nurses have to and don't receive £200,000 a year. If they don't like it sack them. They can't all get jobs in private practice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    How come GP's get paid more than Consultants, do less hours and work Monday - Friday 9-5? Why haven't they been made to earn their money and adapt with the times? Even banks now open on a Saturday, but our good old GP's can have the weekend off and their colleagues in the profession struggle at A+E, to deal with matters that they should be dealing with. Why do the government kept protecting them?

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    The population within the UK is out of control thanks to inept politicians of all parties, It is not just doctors surgeries that are under strain but our entire NHS, schools ,housing and workforce, immigration needs to be taken seriously before this country snaps in two.

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    As a GP I am staggered at the ignorance here. Our average working day is 13 hours, including the partners who then often have meetings until 11pm and work at the weekends. I can't remember the last time I ate lunch at work. There is no room for more work in the system.

    The problem is pateints only see that we work from 8-6pm. They do not see the stacks of paperwork that come as part o


Comments 5 of 746


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