Eight out of 10 GPs in England say their workload is unmanageable

More than eight out of 10 GPs in England say their workload is unmanageable, according to a BMA poll of over 5,000 doctors that exposes the scale of the crisis facing the profession.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul
GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul

Across England, 84% of 5,025 GPs who responded to the BMA poll said their workload was excessive and 'significantly prevents' or 'at times prevents' them providing quality, safe care to patients.

Just 10% of GPs said their workload was manageable and 'allows me to provide quality and safe care to my patients'.

More than a quarter of GPs (27%) who took part in the survey said said excessive workload 'significantly prevents' them from delivering quality, safe care, while more than half (57%) said this was the case at times.

GP workload

The picture of heavy workload undermining the safe delivery of patient care was fairly evenly spread across the country, with marginally higher concerns in the West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside and south-east England, where 86% of GPs said their workload was unmanageable.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: 'This major survey of more than 5,000 GPs in England demonstrates that GP practices across the country are struggling to provide safe, high-quality patient care because of unmanageable workload. Many practices are being overwhelmed by rising patient demand, contracting budgets and staff shortages which has left them unable to deliver enough appointments and the specialist care many patients need.'

Dr Nagpaul called for a 'clear strategy' to address the crisis in general practice, warning that local services were being undermined. 'We need an urgent expansion of the workforce in both practices and community-based teams,' he warned, 'with GPs calling for an increased number of nurses to look after housebound patients and mental health workers to cope with growing demand in this area. Better information for patients about how to safely self-care and wider funding increases for general practice are also needed.

GP Forward View

'The recent GP Forward View accepted the principles behind the BMA’s Urgent Prescription for General Practice which laid out practical solutions, like those identified in our survey, that the government needs to implement urgently. We cannot continue to have a service that cannot deliver a safe and effective level of care to the public.'

The BMA findings reinforce concerns raised by recent GPonline polls that showed GP practices struggling with vacancies, facing reductions in partners' take-home pay and threatened with closure.

GPonline reported this month that practices serving 5m patients across England could be forced to close in the next 12 months because GPs feared they were no longer financially sustainable.

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