Nine out of 10 GPs say heavy workload is undermining patient care

Over 90% of GPs believe their workload has negatively affected the quality of care given to patients, according to the BMA's largest ever poll of the profession.

The national survey of more than 15,500 GPs found that a third think their current workload is unmanageable, while more than half say they are too busy at times.

GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the landmark poll highlighted that GPs’ ability to care for patients was being ‘seriously undermined’ by escalating workload, inadequate resources and unnecessary workload.

Asked to rank the top factors which could help them better deliver the essential components of general practice, three quarters called for an increase in core funding. A total of 74% identified longer consultation times, while 64% called for a reduction in bureaucracy.

Infographic: soaring GP workload

Questioned about access just 2% of GPs said their practices should offer seven-day opening, with 94% against. However 21% said practices should work in networks to offer seven-day access from shared sites. Over half said all practices should offer at least one extended hours session a week.

Dr Nagpaul said: ‘This comes at a time when politicians from all sides are making hollow and unsubstantiated pledges about dramatically increasing the number of GPs within five years, offering guaranteed appointments within 48 hours or funding Sunday opening when research shows those practices open in this period saw few patients booking an appointment.

‘We need politicians of all parties to stop playing games with the NHS and making glib promises to voters that ignore the reality that many GP practices are close to breaking point. Centralised targets and headline grabbing initiatives have the potential to do more harm to patients. Political parties instead must work with GPs and patients on a long-term, sustained plan that delivers high quality healthcare to the public. Better funding, more GPs and improved facilities are important factors that need to be addressed.’

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