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General practice ‘feeling really difficult’ right now, primary care director admits

General practice ‘feeling really difficult’ right now, primary care director admits

NHS England’s primary care director has acknowledged the workload pressure GPs are facing at the current time.

Speaking in an NHS England GP webinar on Thursday evening, Dr Nikki Kanani said she knows that ‘it’s feeling really difficult at the moment’, as demand on practices continues.

She also praised GPs for their role in reaching the milestone of 10 million UK patients now having had their second Covid vaccine dose.

She told the webinar: ‘I know that it’s feeling really difficult at the moment, obviously demand continues… and we’ve got a lot of things to do, whether it is Covid or non Covid-related.’

She added that what NHS England is trying to, via bulletins and webinars, to ‘guide how we kind of focus our activity over the coming weeks and months, recognising that there are a lot of pressures on us in general practice at the moment.’

She added: ‘Thank you for everything you’re doing.’

Her comments come as Pulse’s recent workload survey revealed that GPs are working 11-hour days and dealing with an average of 37 patients in that time – far more than the 28 patients they believe is the safe daily limit in the pandemic.

The Covid-19 outbreak forced GPs to change the way they work, by providing far more remote consultations – often taking more time. They also have to put on and take off PPE and clean rooms in between face-to-face consults.

Overall, around half of GPs said their level of work was unsafe on the day of Pulse’s survey – and 70% said in general daily workload now was ‘significantly’ (35%) or ‘slightly’ (35%) higher than on a typical day before the pandemic.

GPs have also recently taken to Twitter to discuss their workload, including some GPs claiming they were the busiest they ever have been, amid returned demand from patients amid the lockdown easing.


Visit Pulse Reference for details on 140 symptoms, including easily searchable symptoms and categories, offering you a free platform to check symptoms and receive potential diagnoses during consultations.


Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Not on your nelly 23 April, 2021 7:57 pm

The beatings will continue until morale improves….

John Glasspool 23 April, 2021 9:33 pm

In further news, Pope admits he defaecates in the woods.

Actually, it’s crap anyway. OK, I’m retired, but I still remember my “worst” day. It was around 1988. In winter but no flu epidemic. Morning surgery, c 25 patients. 18 home visits. (Yes, dear reader, eighteen.) 3 more came in during the day. Evening surgery c 25 patients. I can’t remember how many phone calls. So, 50 patients in surgery and 21 home visits.
And what would the BMA or RCGP do about such a workload then? Far call: just like now.

John Graham Munro 24 April, 2021 12:03 am


Muhammed Arif 24 April, 2021 11:36 am

Fault lies in the system not the general practitioners. When I started general practice in 1997 patients used to call for appointments not necessarily the same day unless emergency. Patients wil telephone up to mid day and there was an easy access. Then came same day appointments, I believe during labour government and things went from bad to worse. When I telephone surgery for my own appointment I can’t get through. When I get through all the appointments are gone. Common sense should prevail in health care system, otherwise I am afraid system will collapse. More and more work is diverted towards primary as though we have nothing else to do.

Jonathan Heatley 24 April, 2021 5:08 pm

how about giving us a break from mandatory training until workload settles down. I have done decades of safeguarding and resuscitation until I am heartily bored and fed up with it. Its been foisted on us to satisfy public anxiety a while back and its the tiniest part of our current workload. The time would be much better spent on mental health.
Time to update the CME and make it relevant.

Not Arvind Madan 24 April, 2021 11:26 pm

Im sure it’s not difficult for smiley Nikki? She’s had a nice long holiday. Sits on meetings all day. What’s not to like?

Meanwhile, while she had acknowledged things are difficult, she has restarted all of requirements for GP as well as expecting us to vaccinate.

Why does the pulse publish such tripe?

Patrufini Duffy 26 April, 2021 4:19 pm

You can’t keep offering free bread to everyone. Then asked to make cakes and pastries and biscuits. And keep getting a monumental battering because some of them weren’t perfect. And you ran out. Free. It’s all a sweetie shop that’s currently going to pot NK. Let Hancock know at next briefing.

Nigel Dickson 28 April, 2021 11:35 am

John Glasspool hits it on the head – when was it ever quiet in city centre GP land – remember 5 minute consultations – and all those home visits – different times. Current government – when they are not lying – make empty promises knowing the only avenue for private sector to secure foot in GP land is if GP practices fail. Self fulfiling prophecy.

Stuart Buchanan 29 April, 2021 11:08 am

A thank you doesn’t pay the bills or make the job any better…. NK got out of general practice for a reason too….. she can’t do it either……she’d rather ‘lead’ than do the job. We should all follow suit and find something else to do…… or go private……..the government is only interested in big business… spending £60k on buying a few curtains for the PMs apartment whilst allowing apartment owners to pay £60,000 for repairs caused by shoddy builders, shoddy inspectors and dodgy cladding companies. the Tory donors get off scot free whilst the apartment owners get the same treatment that General practice…….