Doctor shortage puts safe service at risk, say GPs
A fall in staff numbers and an increasing demand for GP services has made it difficult to guarantee safe care, say doctors
General practitioners are finding it difficult to “maintain a safe service” to patients due to the amount of pressure they are under, the chairman of the Royal College of GPs has said.
Prof Martin Marshall said a combination of a drop in numbers of staff and an increase in demand for services from GPs, including for things such complex consultations and the vaccination programme as well as a growing population, has made things difficult for doctors.
He told the Guardian newspaper: “The fact that general practice is under such enormous pressure means it can’t deliver the patient-centred services that it wants to. Many GPs are even finding it challenging to maintain a safe service.
“GPs are finding it increasingly hard to guarantee safe care to their patients.
“The chances of making a mistake in a diagnosis or a mistake in a referral decision or a mistake in prescribing are all greater when you’re under stress. And if you’re working 11-, 12-hour days, seeing 50, 60 patients … the chances of you making a mistake, we all know, are higher.”
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a new UK-wide 1.25% health and social care levy, which he said will be “fundamental to putting the NHS back on its feet” and enable “radical innovation” in the health service.
The Prime Minister told the Commons: “Today we are beginning the biggest catch-up programme in NHS history, capping the Covid backlogs by increasing hospital capacity to 110% and enabling nine million more appointments, scans and operations.
“As a result, while waiting lists will get worse before they get better, the NHS will aim to be treating around 30% more elective patients by 2024-2025 than before Covid.”
He added new innovation plans would allow people to have faster GP access to specialists.
The document setting out the plans states that without action it could take 10 years to clear the backlog of care.