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The waiting game

'Do not take us for granted', says outgoing RCGP chair

The outgoing RCGP chair is to warn politicians that more needs to be done to improve patient access to GPs. 

Speaking today at the RCGP annual conference in Liverpool, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard will warn politicians to not take GPs for 'granted' when it comes to finding solutions to tackle existing pressure in primary care. 

She will argue the solution to unacceptable waiting times is not 'arbitrary targets' that prioritise politicians' agendas and instead will call for investment in GP workforce and infrastructure across the UK. 

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to reduce appointment waiting times as part of priorities for his leadership

A recent Pulse survey of 901 UK doctors revealed that the average waiting time for a routine GP appointment is now 15 days, the first time it has exceeded a fortnight

Addressing her keynote speech, Professor Stokes-Lampard will say: 'Yes, we have promises for more investment into general practice – and there are very welcome signs this is finally getting to the frontline. But many GPs are still telling us that running a practice is unsustainable. That they are planning to hand back the keys, and that they plan to leave the profession sooner than they would have done.

'Yes, more GPs are entering the profession, but still more are leaving it. Progress has simply not been made in building the GP workforce.'

She will add: 'Do not take us for granted. Do not make any rash decisions about our service or introduce gimmicks that might be vote winners but would ultimately set back general practice 20 years.

'History has taught us that access targets in general practice do not work. We must learn from those lessons, not repeat them.

'We must first be offering what our patients need, not what politicians want. If unrealistic targets are imposed on our profession, it will crumble, and if general practice crumbles, patients won’t be able to see a GP, at all.'

The RCGP previously called for more manageable GP workload, with the introduction of 15-minute consultations by 2030.  

Professor Stokes-Lampard is to lead the new National Academy for Social Prescribing, which will support prescribing projects such as gardening and singing

Readers' comments (9)

  • A toothless inept and impotent medical college speaks. As if politicians are scared or are even when you’re shackled by the government you can shout all you want. The reality is that you have lost your liberty

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  • 'Gimmicks and vote winners' ..... May we present HSL, the new head of social prescribing.

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  • Nhsfatcat

    With Michael.

    Ex-President of GP college shows leadership by taking a job that isn’t in general practice. Bolt on social prescribing when we have to tools and resources to do the day job.
    Laughing stock.

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  • Why do people pay money to this useless shower? Once you pass the exams it is optional.

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  • Any wonder that HSL’s own practice has a poor rating, when she seems to consider it appropriate/beneficial to advise patients to ‘take a hike’, ‘try playing a different tune’, ‘paint a more colourful picture’, ‘tighten your jib’ etc.???

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  • I can't take HSL or the RCGP seriously.... I honestly think they are deluded in their little bubble world.... 'head of social prescribing', there was a 'created' job that never needed to exist, but I'm sure she's feathered her own nest again...... what a waste of tax payers money......

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  • Took Early Retirement

    I was so disgusted with them that I handed back my Fellowship.

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  • wow - that should do the trick - thanks Helen. should get you a lovely gong soon. I'll go and eat my cake then. can't afford bread at the moment.

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  • C'mon BMA, take us the dentist way. We are fed up of helping and being blamed for everything. We are fed up of moving targets and yearly contract changes wasting our time and causing unnecessary stress so pen pushers can keep their jobs.

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