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Rebuild General Practice

GPs from across Great Britain are calling for support to rebuild General Practice – as new polling shows that nearly 9 in 10 GPs fear patients aren’t always safe at their surgeries and 7 out of 10 GPs see this risk increasing over time.

The campaign, called Rebuild General Practice, comes at a time of ‘crisis’ when appointment numbers are peaking post-pandemic, while GP workforce numbers are on the decline.

For the first time ever, GPs will join forces with Chair of the Health Select Committee, Jeremy Hunt MP, to raise alarm bells on patient safety and launch a campaign to Rebuild General Practice.

The poll of 1,395 GPs from across Great Britain found:

  • Nearly 9 in 10 GPs fear patients aren’t always safe at their surgeries
  • 7 out of 10 GPs feel the risk to ‘patient safety’ is increasing
  • GPs cited staff shortages and too little time for appointments as the main factors putting patients at risk –
  • 86% of GPs stated they didn’t have enough time with patients
  • 77% of GPs said GP shortages were putting patient safety at risk

Dr Kieran Sharrock, a GP based in Lincoln, will launch the campaign with a plea for support to rebuild general practice:

“My message today is simple: please don’t claim credit for our successes while you ignore our cries of anguish about the greatest workforce crisis in NHS history.

“The scale of the exodus from General Practice in the last few years scares me. The UK Government must act soon to stop the bleed, otherwise every family who relies on the NHS will find their basic healthcare needs under threat.”

On recent plans announced by Government Dr Sharrock will say: 

“GPs are rushing headlong for the exit, and the UK Government is planning another review in England. This is fiddling while Rome burns.

“I implore our political leaders as the cost-of-living crisis bites: if you raise taxes to pay for NHS improvements yet fail to stem the flow of GPs out of local surgeries, standards will drop, waiting times will rise, and you will face a wall of public anger. We must rebuild General Practice, together, now.”

GPs from across England, Scotland, and Wales are calling for more support to Rebuild General Practice which must include:

  1. Recruitment: The U.K. Government delivering on its commitment of an additional 6,000 GPs in England by 2024
  2. Retention: Tackling the factors driving GPs out of the profession such as burn out
  3. Safety: A plan to reduce GP workload and in turn improve patient safety

Dr Brian McGregor, a GP in York, said: 

“GPs become doctors because they care. The overwhelming system pressures are giving us less time with patients and putting safety at risk. This cannot go on any longer. We all want the same thing: to give and receive the best healthcare.”

Dr Amy Small, a GP in Edinburgh added: 

“The current situation is creating pain and anguish for people up and down the country. We want to see our patients, but we don’t have enough hours in the day to see everyone face to face – even though the data shows that overall GPs are delivering more appointments than ever before. Boosting the workforce is the only way to heal the system and rebuild general practice.”. 

Dr Sandar Hlaing, GP and senior partner in Swansea concluded: 

“Our greatest hope is that we can deliver the general practice service that patients and staff deserve. Rebuilding General Practice will give GPs the time back to deliver the quality of care they want to be able to give patients - and ensure that patients can make appointments and see the right General Practice team member.”

Jeremy Hunt MP will also address the crisis in general practice and call on central and devolved governments for more support:

“The workforce crisis is the biggest issue facing NHS. We can forget fixing the backlog unless we urgently come up with a plan to train enough doctors for the future, and crucially, retain the ones we’ve got. 

As someone who tried hard to get more GPs into local surgeries – but ultimately didn’t succeed because the numbers retiring early exceeded those joining – I’m passionate about fixing this.    The BMA and I haven’t always sat on the same side of table, but I’m joining them and other GPs today to sound the alarm about the workforce crisis in our surgeries because we must now rebuild general practice as a matter of urgency.”

Support #RebuildGP   /  www.rebuildgp.co.uk   /  @RebuildGP

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