It is ‘not right to normalise’ the current workload in general practice as numbers of GPs and practices goes down, the RCGP chair told delegates at Pulse Live today.
Professor Kamila Hawthorne highlighted the pressure GPs are under with general practice appointments increasing most last year, compared to A&E and outpatients.
She also said her priority from a new GP contract would be better resourcing for GPs working in deprived areas.
Her speech looked at the challenges facing general practice and imagined what the future could look like, including what the college can do to bring about change.
Professor Hawthorne pointed to the RCGP’s recent ‘Fit for the Future’ report, which called on the Government to urgently commit to a ‘properly funded plan’ which helps GPs to respond to surges in demand.
The RCGP’s GP survey, included in the report, showed that more than a quarter of survey respondents fear their practice could close, with almost 90% citing unmanageable workload as the top reason.
Professor Hawthorne, quoting the survey results today, said: ‘The workload that we’re facing – it’s not right to normalise it. The sort of work days that we have in general practice, it is not right to normalise this.
‘The number of GPs is going down because they’re leaving the profession faster than they’re entering it. The number of practices in England is going down, and compared with affluent areas, GPs in deprived areas earn less but see more patients with more chronic illness.’
The speech focused on the traditional values of general practice, with Professor Hawthorne emphasising the importance of patients seeing GPs as ‘my doctor, not the doctor’.
When asked about what her priorities for the GP contract for 2023/24 would be, she said: ‘General practice needs to be much better resourced. I really would like to see GPs working in deprived areas being better resourced.’
These are the communities that ‘desperately need’ talented and altruistic GPs, according to Professor Hawthorne.
Pulse 365 LIVE is two-day conference (21 and 22 March) with a comprehensive programme covering the latest clinical updates, career development workshops, and policy updates. The event is run by Cogora and is taking place in Hammersmith, London.