The amount of money allocated to GPs to care for patients is set to drop by almost £200m over the next three years, the RCGP has warned.
An analysis of figures by the RCGP showed that total investment in general practice in England fell by 1.2% in 2011/12, a decrease of £8.4bn. The RCGP predicts that if this trend continues, £196m will be lost from GP service funding by 2015/16, equivalent to the current funding for 1.2 million patients.
The college said this was a stark warning that GP practices are being ‘starved of the resources they need’.
The figures also reveal that only 9% of the NHS budget in England was spent on general practice in 2010/11
RCGP chair Professor Clare Gerada said: ‘General practice is the most effective and cost-effective way of providing patient care – a whole day’s care in general practice costs one tenth of a day in hospital. But funding and resources for our services is being stretched to the limits, with family doctors facing ballooning workloads, record hours being worked in surgery and real consequences for patient care.
‘Most GPs want to help alleviate pressure on hospitals, including on A&E, with a shift in care back to the community, but this must be matched with adequate resourcing and we cannot continue to juggle an ever-increasing workload with a decreasing workforce.’
A spokesperson for the Department of Health disputed the figures and said that the Government was ‘not planning to cut funding levels for primary care’.
‘Funding has actually increased by 1.3% this year,’ the spokesperson added.