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Quarter of GP practices at risk of closing, according to RCGP survey

Quarter of GP practices at risk of closing, according to RCGP survey

Over a quarter of GPs and other staff have said their practice is at risk of closing with workload pressure as the top reason, according to recent RCGP figures. 

The survey, which was predominantly carried out in England, also found that GP partners leaving and a shortage of salaried GPs were contributing factors. 

The RCGP surveyed over 2,500 GPs and other clinical and non-clinical staff working in general practice over the period from 9 December 2022 to 13 January 2023. 

While the full results of the 2022 Infrastructure Survey have not yet been published, these figures on the risk of practice closure were revealed by RCGP chair Professor Kamila Hawthorne to The Times Health Commission

Professor Hawthorne said they ‘just don’t have enough clinicians to see the number of patients that need to be seen’ and expressed fear that general practice would ‘lose a shedload more before things turn around’.

The number of fully qualified GPs in England has fallen by 1.7% from 27,848 in December 2021 to 27,375 in December 2022, a month in which over 27 million appointments were delivered, according NHS Digital figures

Last month, in response to these figures, Professor Hawthowne said: ‘General practice is understaffed, underfunded and overstretched.

‘This escalating workload with falling GP numbers is unsustainable and needs to be addressed.’

Of those who took part in the RCGP infrastructure survey 26.7% believed their practice was at risk of closure, and 89.2% identified the unmanageable workload and rising demand as a reason for this. 

This pressure seems to be compounded by the low supply of GPs, with 67% citing the departure of GP partners and 63% citing a lack of sufficient salaried GPs as reasons for potential practice closure. 



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Douglas Callow 8 February, 2023 6:10 pm

No longer too big to be allowed to fail ?

John Evans 8 February, 2023 7:26 pm

That is probably in line with the next phase of ‘redesign’. Blue sky thinking is not fashionable BS. It is now disruptive thinking ie break it and force new ways to do things to emerge from the chaos.

Take overs by bigger practices / commercial groups. In areas where that doesn’t happen throw money at the problem until a bigger practice / commercial group takes on to run remotely

This may not work for truly remote practices – additional funding streams may be used for them.

The secondary effects from large scale remodelling are beyond those who make the decisions. US style systems with less funding? Ultimately the public will have to put up with less. It might have been better to support GPs to manage demand / workload.

Centreground Centreground 9 February, 2023 11:28 am

The RCGP and CCG/ICB board GPs have allowed this to happen in conjunction with NHSE -the same people who have failed in the past decades continue in these decision making roles and continue to interest in listening to those at the coalface

Adam Crowther 9 February, 2023 11:38 am

Must be high time to privatise health, education, defence and work, benefits and pensions surely 😳😢🥳