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GP waiting times a ‘national disgrace’ says RCGP chair

Chair of the RCGP has said that spiralling waiting times for patients to see a GP are a ‘national disgrace’ as surveys predict 60 million appointments to see a GP or nurse next year will involve a wait of a week or longer.

A ComRes survey commissioned by the college found 65% of patients worry that GP workloads will harm standards of care, and only 23% think that the current workforce is big enough to meet the challenges of an ageing population.

The RCGP is now estimating that the profession will lose 1,000 GPs a year by 2022 due to pressures and the current age of the workforce, with as many as 22% of GPs in London calling time on frontline care in the next 5 years.

RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said: ‘These devastating statistics show that waiting times are now a national disgrace and that the situation is set to get even worse over the year ahead.’

She added: ‘Our patients are bearing the brunt. We simply don’t have enough GPs to meet patient demand and those that we do have are over-worked and overstretched.’