Hospital Dr News

GPs say patient care is “deteriorating” as services buckle under rising workload

Over half of GP practices say patient care is “deteriorating” as GP services buckle under rising workload.

This is the main finding of a BMA survey of 2,900 GP practices in England, which also shows that nine out of ten practices said that there had been a rise in demand for appointments in the past twelve months.

Representing the views of a third of all practices, just 2% said their workload was low or generally manageable.

Fifty five per cent said their workload was unmanageable a lot of the time while 13% said it was unmanageable all of the time.

The West Midlands had the highest level of unmanageable workload with 16% of GP practices recording this level, while the South of England reported the biggest deterioration in patient care with 66% saying it had declined.

Dr Beth McCarron, BMA GP Executive team member, said: “These figures clearly show that general practice is in a state of emergency with the majority of GP practices across England registering deterioration in the quality of care being delivered to patients.

“This is clearly the result of rising workload, including increasing patient demand for appointments which is placing unsustainable pressure on GP services that have been starved of resources and staff. There were more than 600 GP Trainee positions left unfilled in 20152 at a time when a third of the workforce are considering retirement in the next five years. This comes at a time when GP practices are seeing 150,000 more patients each day than in 2010, but have seen no extra resources to maintain effective, safe care to the public.”

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