Responding to the publication of the GP patient survey results for 2022, Dr Farah Jameel, BMA England GP committee chair, said:
“It’s only right that patients expect and deserve high-quality, timely care whenever they interact with their GP practice, and we share their frustration when this doesn’t happen. We too feel dissatisfied after years of under-investment, ever increasing workload, and a Government who has not been listening to us. We’ve been saying for years that general practice needs investment, more GPs, and more support to see as many patients as possible in a way which meets their needs.
“The fall in patient satisfaction with making an appointment is a stark reflection of the capacity shortfall that general practice is facing. General practice appointment bookings reached record highs over the winter of 2021, but we still lack enough doctors to safely meet demand. There has been a failure of successive Governments to recruit enough GPs, and crucially retain those we’ve already got, leading to those staff that remain being forced to plug the gaps in the service.
“Despite this, more than 70% of the public reported a good overall experience of their GP practice, which is testament to how hard our teams are working. In fact, latest appointment figures show that GPs delivered an estimated 28.3m appointments in May, including Covid vaccinations. This is even more impressive when we consider that, also for May, the total NHS waiting list in England stood at 6.61 million – the highest ever recorded and over 2.8million the number waiting in May 2020.
“This situation will only improve if the Government provides the investment and support that is needed to grow the general practice workforce and improve access to services. The Government should provide immediate support to GPs to make improvements to their booking systems and invest in practice technology and premises. But to really turn this situation around, we urgently need the Government to recognise how GP shortages are compromising patient safety and provide a credible workforce plan to increase the number of staff across the health service.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.