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GP consultations rise ‘by 40m in four years’

28 May 2014

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The number of consultations carried out by GPs in England has risen by 40 million over the past four years, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has claimed. 

Maureen Baker, RCGP chair said that family doctors are seeing up to 60 patients each day with less funding. 

Writing in the British Journal of General Practitioners (BJGP), Baker (pictured) warned that hospital services have had bigger increases in staff and money. 

She wrote: “In the decade between 2003 and 2013, in full-time equivalent terms the number of GPs rose by 4,451, but over the same period the number of hospital doctors increased by 12,673. 

“General practice is the cornerstone of the NHS, dealing with 90% of all patient contacts in our health services and helping to ensure the delivery of safe, effective patient care.

“Yet in recent years concerns have been mounting that a number of pressures facing GP surgeries are pushing UK general practice to breaking point.”

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the general practice committee at the British Medical Association told the Telegraph: “There is a hidden crisis in general practice at the moment and it impacts on more patients than waiting times in casualty. One million patients see their GP every working day in England and that is 16 times the number that will go to A&E.

“This is not about GPs not working hard enough or not offering enough appointments. GPs are paralysed, we all want to offer quick access, we take no pleasure in long waiting times, it really pains us.

“This is not about GP pay, we don’t have the premises, the nurses or the staff to provide the service we want to.”

Baker’s editorial is available to view on the BJGP website