This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Hundred million one-week GP appointment waits by 2020, RCGP warns

Patients will be waiting over a week for a GP appointment on almost a hundred million occasions by 2020 if current trends continue, the RCGP has warned.

New analysis by the college also predicted that on over 50 million occasions patients will not be able to see a GP at all.

Currently, there are 69 million annual occasions of waits of over one week, said the college, but this will rise to 98 million in four years' time.

Last year, patients who could not get a GP appointment did not seek healthcare elsewhere on 9.4m occasions, and if this trend continues this number will be 46.8m by the end of 2020/21.

RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said the figures were futher evidence that general practice is 'in crisis' and, in response, the Government must 'guarantee' the rollout of measures announced in NHS England's General Practice Forward View.

She said: 'The fact that, if current trends continue, patients will have to wait to see their GP for more than a week on almost 100 million occasions by 2020 is shocking - and poses a clear risk to the health of thousands of patients...

'We now need a guarantee from the new Prime Minister, the new Chancellor and the health hecretary that the [GP] Forward View will be delivered in full.'

Readers' comments (9)

  • "patients who could not get a GP appointment did not seek healthcare elsewhere on 9.4m occasions".
    Suggests to me that they didnt need help anyway.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • By 2020!!! We are at tipping point now! This isn't going to continue in a downward steady trajectory over the next 3-4 years as those of us remaining are planning our exits from partnership either fully or at least in sessional committments.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • What about treating Australian specialist GPs a little kinder now so that we can use our RACGP revalidation to satisfy UK revalidation requirements? We want to work as locums in UK general practice but the RCGP persistently refuse to recognise Fellowship in the RACGP as good enough, and we are prevented from revalidation by the GMC's persistent refusal to recognise Australian revalidation evidence. By contrast, the Irish College of GPs and the MCI take a much more pragmatic view of Australian GP specialist locums

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Its more important to know what patients are requesting an appointment for. We see so many patients for reviews where it isn't essential to be seen today or even this week. Lots of minor illness probably doesn't need to be seen at all. Its the true urgent or emergency that gets missed because everyone wants to be seen now!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Introduce payment per consultation and this situation will not arise even in the year 2090

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • just wondering, without being too personal,why DO Australian specialist gps want to do locums here ??

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • What does this mean? That the RCGP have inadequately trained their members in order to deal with the flexibility of change.
    They seem to be more interested in navel gazing and ripping off members for fees which I think they would be hard pushed to justify.

    I would also suggest that now post Brexit that we do not allow incompetent EU doctors to work in this country until completely ratified by an acceptable training body. However we have to find one first. ( instead of allowing locum GP's from EU to murder our colleagues father then hide behind EU legislation.)

    I would gladly work with an Australian colleague before I would with some I have come across from the EU or for that matter some from the Royal College, whose practices I have assessed in the past.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • What a bizarre announcement from the RCGP. I have time to post this afternoon as two consecutive patients havent even bothered to turn up to the appointments they booked last week. It costs them nothing (they pay no taxes)so they value it...nothing.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Mr hunt

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say