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Independents' Day

Funding crisis to lead to 34 million fewer appointments per year

Funding cuts to primary care will lead to 34 million fewer GP appointments for patients this year, the RCGP has warned.  

The RCGP’s analysis of the latest GP Patient Survey, published in December, revealed that 10% of patients who sought a consultation with a GP or a practice nurse in 2012/13 failed to get one.

The college said that the number of patients failing to see a GP at all will continue to increase due to the ongoing cuts in funding for general practice, allied to rapidly growing demand, with general practice set to see 340 million patients per year.

The slump in funding, along with a growing and ageing population, where increasing numbers of patients have multiple conditions, has had a massive impact on the ability of general practice to cope with the huge upswing in demand.

Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the RCGP, said: ‘GPs and practice nurses can’t keep doing more for less and now that funding for general practice in England has slumped to just 8.5% of the NHS budget the service we provide is in crisis.

‘All three political parties say they want to see more patients being treated in the community, where care can be provided to patients more economically, in their own surroundings, and yet resources are increasingly being diverted away from communities and into hospitals.’

She said that if the Government and NHS England really wanted to give general practice ‘the tools to provide high-quality and comprehensive care in the community’, they must increase funding for the sector to 11% of the NHS budget by 2017.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Argil

    I do understand the concerns about a slump in funding particularly paralleled by growing and ageing population, with increasing numbers of patients have multiple conditions.
    In the other hands, we know that healthcare spending is not linear function of healthcare levels of a Country.
    USA healthcare spending is 17.9% of the GDP, 53.1% of this coming from the Government as 22% of all spending. This is a lot, by any standard, but very few readers, if any, would say that USA has the best healthcare system in the World.
    What UK is currently spending in healthcare is significantly more than in Countries where people enjoy better general health and greater longevity than in the UK.
    It is time to reconsider where we should invest our money.
    I strongly believe that it would be worthwhile investing more in healthy lifestyle education starting for very young age.
    Children spend many hours at school.
    Healthcare education is as important, if not more important, than many other educational subjects.
    To date, prevention remains better than cure.

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