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Overworked GPs no longer ‘guarantee’ patient safety

17 June 2013

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Eighty-five per cent of family doctors say they can no longer guarantee safe patient care, a poll has shown. 

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), who organised the study said it indicates the “extremity” of problems currently facing general practice. 

According to the poll, 48% of GPs think that patients now have to wait longer for an appointment, while four in five are more likely to want to quit the profession than they were five years ago. 

Almost 95% of family doctors feel that working in general practice is more stressful than it was five years ago, and 22% have had to seek support or advice for work-related stress. 

“The findings of this poll are truly shocking and they explode the myth, peddled by certain people in recent weeks, that GPs are somehow working less hard than other professionals across the health service,” said RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada. 

Dr Gerada said the results show that general practice is in a “state of crisis” and that “urgent action” must be taken in order to deliver safe patient care. 

Calling for general practice to be given “at least 10%” of the ring-fenced NHS budged, she added: “The overwhelming pressure that many GPs now feel is leading to an upsurge in work-related stress and other health issues and we need to ensure that we can deliver safe care for all our patients.”

General practice currently receives 9% of NHS funding, despite carrying out 90% of NHS contracts. 

The research revealed that 55% of GPs conduct 40-60 consultations per day and 58% of GPs work until at least 7pm. 

Researchers from Research Now reported on a random sample of 258 GPs across the UK; 210 from England; 25 from Scotland; 14 from Wales; and nine from Northern Ireland on behalf of the RCGP.