The government must urgently set out how it will meet its promise to find 6,000 extra GPs in England, senior GPs have said.
The Royal College of GPs yesterday set out its proposals for a step by step proposal to achieve this target. It said GP training places should increase to 4,000 this year and then later to 5,000.
It called for steps to retain existing GPs, to reduce workload and to encourage doctors to return to general practice. It also supports developing extended practice teams to help reduce the workload on doctors.
Writing to health secretary Matt Hancock, college chair Professor Martin Marshall said: “Unfortunately, general practice has been running on empty for too long and GPs are working under intense pressure with a workload that is escalating and causing many to burn out and leave the profession – and facing difficulties recruiting GPs and other members of staff to manage this demand.
“The impact of these measures will be to significantly improve the access to our service and the quality of the care we can give to our patients.”
The proposals were backed by the British Medical Association.
Dr Richard Vautrey, chair of its GP committee, said: “For too long now, GPs and their teams have been dealing with a severe workforce crisis in primary care. Patients are waiting longer than ever before to get an appointment and colleagues, who have no choice but to pick up extra work, are exhausted. While there remains a desperate need for additional investment, we know that money alone isn’t going to solve the problem. Alongside it must be a coherent, sensible plan to get our workforce back on track.”