Public back investment to save general practice from extinction, RCGP poll shows

General practice faces a 'severe threat of extinction' but almost two thirds of the British public back increased investment to save it, according to a poll commissioned by the RCGP.

Dr Maureen Baker: general practice at risk of extinction
Dr Maureen Baker: general practice at risk of extinction

Three out of five respondents to the poll (60%) said they would like to see funding transferred from other parts of the NHS to support primary care.

The general public believe soaring pressure on GP workload could undermine the care patients receive - 62% said the 40-60 consultations most GPs provide each day put their care at risk.

Findings of the RCGP-commissioned poll came as the BMA warned that 60% of GPs planned to retire early due to rising workload and falling morale.

RCGP chairwoman Dr Maureen Baker said: ‘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.

‘For generations, GPs have been the bedrock of the NHS and provided excellent care for patients. But we can no longer guarantee a future for general practice as our patients know it, rely on it - and love it.

‘GPs are doing all they can but we are being seriously crippled by a toxic mix of increasing workloads and ever dwindling budgets, which is leaving patients waiting too long for an appointment and not receiving the time or attention they need and that GPs want to give them.

‘Cutting funding to the bone is a false economy – by investing in general practice, we are shoring up the rest of the NHS from collapse.’

A total of 40% of patients who responded to the poll, carried out by ComRes, said they were concerned the amount of time they had to wait for a GP appointment could affect their health.

More than a quarter said the last time they tried to book a GP appointment they could not get one within a week.

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