The Devonshire LOdge Practice
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Why your GP is facing a crisis

Government policy and changes in public health have pushed the GP system to the brink of disaster. This is how it breaks down.

Are you struggling to book an appointment with your GP? You’re not the only one. A combination of factors has put our family doctors in a really difficult position:

1. Doctor workload has increased by 20%

Britain ’s GPs have to deal with 20% more consultations in 2013 than they did in 2008 – that’s an extra 60 million consultations a year.

A report for the Royal College of General Practitioners predicts that  demand for GP appointments will have risen by an additional 12% by 2016 .

Why has demand shot up so much?

·          There are simply more people now than 2008

·          We’re all going to the doctor more often.  The average Brit sees the doctor six times a year   –twice as often as a decade ago.

·          78% of all GP consultations   are for people with two or more chronic illnesses. This group of people is estimated to grow   from around 1.9m in 2008 to 2.9m by 2018 .

2. But the  budget   for general practice has stayed the same

Even though their workload has gone up by at least 20% since 2008, funding for GPs has stayed flat and looks likely to fall in the next five years.

GP practices only get funding for you to visit them   twice   a year .

 3. The result? GPs are turning away patients

Demand has risen so sharply that GPs have to turn increasingly large numbers of people away. In 2013 41.9 million people were unable to get an appointment with their doctor.

Currently almost  11% of patients  are unable to get an appointment when they ring up their GP.

And for those who do get an appointment,  the average waiting time could be two weeks  by 2015, according a survey of GPs by Pulse.

4. Because of this, more people are going straight to A&E for treatment

This means the crisis gets shunted into other parts of the health system:  A quarter of the people going to A&E are doing it because they can’t get a GP appointment , according to research by ImperialCollege.

Between 2008 and 2013, A&E admissions went up by 3 million.

One reason that’s bad for the NHS? It’s much more expensive.

GP appointments are relatively cheap – a 12-minute GP consultation   costs the NHS  £36. But the  average cost of an attendance at A&E  is easily double that – £68.

GP practices are inexpensive. They deal with  90% of all people who contact the NHS , while only receiving about 8% of the budget.

5. Meanwhile, GPs are getting burnt out with the workload…

Doctors are  currently carrying out between 40 and 60 12-minute consultations a day .

Here’s  what they told the British Medical Association :

  • 94% of GPs said their workload has increased   in the last year
  • 97% of GPs said that bureaucracy and box ticking had increased   in the past year
  • 86% of GPs reported a reduction in their morale   in the past year

6. Early retirement is looming…

Six out of 10 GPs are considering early retirement and  more than a third are actively planning for this decision .

7.  …while one in seven GPs wants to leave the UK

And the doctors who aren’t retiring? Well, a lot of them are considering immigrating to places such as Australia.  5,000 doctors a year consider leaving the NHS to work abroad .

8. And the next generation of doctors? They don’t want to be GPs

There’s also currently a GP training crisis, as newly-qualified doctors choose not to go into general practice. The number of people applying for postgraduate GP training fell by 15% last year, calling the government’s recruitment targets very much into question.  Some areas of the UK had no new applicants.

In conclusion:

·          Doctors have to see more people – they’re only going to get busier.

·          They’re getting demoralised and leaving the profession.

·          There’s no money to employ more of them; and even if the money was there, there’s a shortage of qualified people.

·          The recruitment shortage is only making things worse for the GPs still remaining.

·          A lack of GPs is costing the NHS money, because sending everyone to A&E is much more expensive.




Eastcote Health Centre, 
Abbotsbury Gardens, 
Eastcote, PINNER. 
Middlesex HA5 1TG
Tel: 020 8866 0075
Fax: 020 8429 3087