The number of general practice consultations for elderly patients could double to 180 million by 2035.
Research by the Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions Primary Care: Today and Tomorrow estimates there could be a total of 433 million GP consultations annually by 2035, providing the pattern of practice consultations remains unchanged.
The increasing demand on primary care coupled with the rising age of GPs and practice nurses is creating a “major primary care supply challenge”, it is claimed.
As many as 10,000 GPs have also expressed an intention to retire within five years, with 22% over the age of 55.
Similarly, one in five practice nurses are aged 55 or over.
Karen Taylor, Deloitte UK Centre for Health Solutions’ Research Director, warns general practice must find new ways of working if it is to cope with the increasing demand.
“While important, the traditional ways of working, which rely on face to face consultations between the patient and the GP, and increasingly the practice nurse, are no longer sustainable,” she said.
“GPs need to adopt new models of care, using new technology and other practice staff more effectively, working closely with patients to provide more care in the community, with an emphasis on shared decision making and self management.
“GPs will still need to act as gatekeepers, but also increasingly as care navigators.”