Family Doctor Service 'In Crisis'

Family Doctors Are In Crisis And Often Have To See 60 Patients A Day


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

Medical leaders have warned the family doctor profession is in crisis due to patient demand.

According to the Royal College of GPs, some doctors are being made to see 60 patients a day and are working around the clock to meet growing demand with less funding.

Writing in the British Journal of General Practice, Maureen Baker, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said the situation is the worst in 30 years and could lead to a multitude of issues.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Dr Baker, who previously held appointments with the National Patient Safety Agency, said: "We are delivering 10 per cent more consultations than five years ago with falling money.

"The complexity of cases is increasing all the time. People over the age of 60 are living with multiple long term conditions and they take more time and are more difficult to deal with.

"The service is stretched very thin, people are working ludicrous hours and are asking if they are actually safe doing do."

Between 2008 and 2012, the number of consultations carried out by GPs in England has risen from 300 million to 340 million, but this has come alongside a reduction in funding from the government because of austerity measures.

One of Dr Baker's top priorities is to dispel the image of GPs taking home "huge salaries" and driving sports cars, which she says is not in tune in reality.

Dr Baker's words were echoed by Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the general practice committee at the British Medical Association, who claimed there is a "hidden crisis" in the NHS which has seen a huge strain put on family doctors.

NHS England claims it is doing its best with the resources available and has previously outlined that reducing strain on family doctor surgeries is a top priority in the coming years.

However, with budgets dwindling and further budget cuts on the horizon, the situation may be unstable for the foreseeable future, according to political experts.

Expert Opinion
The information being shared by the Royal College of GPs is worrying because it describes a workload that could potentially lead to doctors being overworked and stretched too thin.

“We’ve seen first hand the impact that medical negligence can have on patients who may have been misdiagnosed or being given the wrong prescription because of human errors.

“Tiredness can cause mistakes when people aren’t at their sharpest bringing patient safety into question. It is vital that all medical staff are given the appropriate resources to be able to carry out their job to the best of their ability.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner