Funding gap threatens longer GP waits, warns RCGP

Patients face longer waiting times to see a GP this winter as the effects of a £10bn funding gap take hold, the RCGP has warned.

Dr Maureen Baker: GP waiting times will rise (photo: James Bolt)
Dr Maureen Baker: GP waiting times will rise (photo: James Bolt)

Research by the college identified an 8.3% fall in real-terms funding for general practice between 2005/6 and 2010/11, while overall NHS funding increased by 18%.

The research found that GPs now conduct 90% of NHS contacts for £2.4bn less each year than would have been the case if funding had kept pace with investment in secondary care.

New RCGP chairwoman Dr Maureen Baker said the ‘deep-seated and long-term’ funding shift from primary to secondary care was starving general practice.

In a college poll, 71% of GPs said they expected waiting times to worsen over the next two years due to the funding decrease.

The RCGP and the National Association for Patient Participation are calling for general practice to receive 11% of the overall NHS budget by 2017, an increase of 1% a year.

Dr Baker said: ‘The vast majority of GPs think that the decline in funding for general practice will regretfully lead to longer waiting times for patients over the next two years. This lengthening of waiting times is a continuous process, and will inevitably worsen this winter as temperatures plummet.

‘GPs want to offer their patients faster and more convenient access but are being held back from doing so by a chronic lack of resources. The government must take urgent action to pump more resources into general practice so that family doctors can treat patients in the community, thereby taking the pressure off hospitals.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

NHS England pledges £30m for GPs to boost long COVID diagnosis and care

NHS England pledges £30m for GPs to boost long COVID diagnosis and care

NHS England has promised £30m for general practice to improve diagnosis and care...

Second dose COVID jabs for over-40s to be accelerated as lifting restrictions is delayed

Second dose COVID jabs for over-40s to be accelerated as lifting restrictions is delayed

Second doses of COVID-19 vaccines in England will be 'accelerated' for all over-40s...

BMA backs negligence action against GMC and hospital over doctor's suicide

BMA backs negligence action against GMC and hospital over doctor's suicide

The BMA is supporting legal action over alleged negligence and under the Human Rights...

GPs recognised in Queen's birthday honours

GPs recognised in Queen's birthday honours

GPs are among those who have been recognised in the Queen's birthday honours.

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK are playing a leading role in the largest-ever NHS vaccination...

The healthcare crisis in Myanmar - how UK GPs can help

The healthcare crisis in Myanmar - how UK GPs can help

Dr Jim Brockbank from Myanmar UK GP Health Action provides an update on how the military...