MILLIONS more appointments with hundreds fewer GPs is ‘pushing doctors to breaking point’, the BMA warned yesterday.
Commenting on the latest NHS Digital GP workforce figures for England and GP appointment data, published yesterday, Dr Kieran Sharrock, BMA England GP committee deputy chair, said: ‘Last month appointments in England were up by 4 million – while GP numbers continued to spiral downwards.
‘This is completely untenable for practices, for GPs and for patients.
‘Compared with this time a year ago, England has the equivalent of 369 fewer full-time, fully qualified GPs – having lost 30 in the most recent month alone. This means each day there is one less doctor for patients to see.
‘On top of that, we have lost almost 1,600, fully-qualified, full-time equivalent GPs since 2015.
‘This trend, of demand rocketing while we haemorrhage doctors, is pushing the remaining staff to breaking point as they take on more and more each day, to a point which is not safe for them and certainly not safe for patients.
‘The whole healthcare system is under pressure like never before, with record waits for operations and procedures, meaning more patients waiting often in a huge deal of pain and seeking support from their practice.
‘While today’s figures demonstrate practice staff going above and beyond to meet the needs of their patients, working at these unsafe levels is not sustainable and will only drive more GPs away from the profession – leaving more patients without their family doctor.
‘We urgently need the government and policymakers to listen to the alarm bells being rung by practices around the country, and work with the profession to come to solutions that ease the pressures, turn the tide on the exodus of GPs and enable them to provide safe care that patients deserve.’