Hospital Dr News

Quality and safety of patient care in general practice in England is under threat

The quality and safety of patient care in general practice in England is under threat from rising workload pressures according to a major new BMA survey.

Key findings from the survey, which drew responses from 5,025 GPs across England, include:

  • Eight out of ten GPs believe that workload pressures are either unmanageable or excessive and are having a direct impact on the quality and safety of the care they deliver to patients.
  • Only one in ten describe their workload as manageable and allowing for good and safe quality of care.
  • The South East, the West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside had the highest rates of GPs reporting unmanageable levels of workload.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA GP committee chair, said: “This major survey demonstrates that GP practices across the country are struggling to provide safe, high-quality patient care because of unmanageable workload. Many practices are being overwhelmed by rising patient demand, contracting budgets and staff shortages which has left them unable to deliver enough appointments and the specialist care many patients need.”

GPs outlined a broad range of options to help tackle these problems, such as increased provision of enhanced community nurses to manage vulnerable housebound patients (64%), more help to enable patients to safely self-care (59%) and greater provision of mental health workers (53%) in the community.

Nagpaul added: “Addressing the crisis in general practice requires a clear strategy that tackles the numerous problems undermining local GP services. We need an urgent expansion of the workforce in both practices and community-based teams, with GPs calling for an increased number of nurses to look after housebound patients and mental health workers to cope with growing demand in this area. Better information for patients about how to safely self-care and wider funding increases for general practice are also needed.”

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