Commenting on the news that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has abandoned his proposal to charge patients for missed GP appointments, Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “We’re pleased to hear this development. Charging patients for missed appointments would not have worked, would have disadvantaged some of our most vulnerable patients, and would simply have been tinkering at the edges given the scale of the crisis facing GPs and our teams.
“The latest NHS figures hammer home how GPs and our teams are working harder than ever whilst the number of fully-qualified full-time equivalent GPs has fallen since the Government made its manifesto promise of 6,000 more GPs by 2024 – a manifesto that the new Prime Minister has said he is committed to delivering.
“We’re pleased that the Prime Minister has listened to our concerns around charging for appointments. We now hope that he will listen to us about how to address the intense workload and workforce pressures GPs and our teams are working under, and the impact these are having on patients, and act.
“First and foremost, the Government must address the workforce crisis in general practice by devising and implementing a recruitment and retention strategy that will go beyond the 6,000 GPs promised, and make GP workload more manageable by reducing unnecessary red tape and bureaucracy. We must also see a return to 11% of the total health spend in general practice, and investment in our IT systems and premises, so that GPs and our teams can deliver the care our patients need and continue to keep the NHS sustainable.
“While we do not agree with fining patients for missing appointments, we would urge patients who are able to who no longer need their appointment to let their surgery know as soon as possible that they won’t be attending, so that consultations can be offered to other patients.”
RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633
Notes to editor
The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 54,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.