Public Believes GP Services Under Threat

New Poll Shows Majority Of Public Are Worried Large GP Workloads Are Compromising Patient Health


The British public share concerns that GPs may be prevented from giving each patient the level of attention they need due to the sheer volume of their workloads, a new poll has suggested.

A survey carried out by ComRes for the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) revealed 62 per cent of Britons believe the number of consultations - between 40 and 60 per day in the majority of cases - could lead to care levels being compromised.

One particular concern raised by many respondents was the difficulty in getting appointments quickly, with 28 per cent saying the last time they tried to book an appointment for themselves or a member of their family it proved impossible to get one that same week. Forty per cent of those questioned said they felt their health could suffer as a direct result of appointment logjams.

RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker remarked: "General practice as we know it is now under severe threat of extinction. It is imploding faster than people realise and patients are already bearing the brunt of the problem.

"This will only get worse unless urgent action is taken to redress the huge and historic imbalance in funding."

According to the survey, the issue of funding is one on which the majority of the public want to see change, with 60 per cent calling for a shift of cash from other parts of the NHS towards GP services.

Dr Baker said the GP service is being "seriously crippled by a toxic mix of increasing workloads and ever dwindling budgets", with the restrictions in funding amounting to a "false economy" for the NHS, as it would have to spend more elsewhere to treat those whose health is adversely affected by the lack of attention their GPs can offer.

The RCGP wants to see the GP service's share of NHS funding increased to 11 per cent of the total when the 2014-15 spending round takes place.

At present, GP services currently deal with 90 per cent of patient contacts, but are only allocated 8.39 per cent of the overall NHS budget.

If you've experienced negligent treatment due to rushed or over-worked GPs you might be entitled to compensation. Visit our GP Negligence Claims page for more information.

Expert Opinion
These findings are clearly a concern as they highlight the public’s direct worries regarding the GP service and the quality and timeliness of the support that they receive.

"It is vital that the government, the NHS and other healthcare providers take note of these findings and examine what can be done to ensure that these issues are addressed quickly.

"The key issue needs to be ensuring that patient safety is not undermined or jeopardised as a result of the issues identified."
Luke Daniels, Partner