Joint letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

A new Government is always an  opportunity for change. It’s time to make sure that this new Government changes general practice for the better. 


This letter to the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Wes Streeting, tells him why he must prioritise taking action to ensure there are enough GP roles in the NHS to safely deliver patient care, and enough GPs to fill them. 
9747 GPs, retired and training GPs have already signed the letter. The more GPs who sign up, the more likely it is to get picked up by the media. Using our collective voices helps to make sure that the Secretary of State hears our message loud and clear. You have until Monday 22nd to sign your name. 
General practice has been ignored for too long, and our patients are paying the price. You can help change that, by signing this letter.
This letter is for GPs working, training or retired in England. If you are not one of those but still want to help go to our Influencing Parliament page to see other ways to support the campaigning work of the RCGP.


Dear Secretary of State,

We 9747 GPs, GP trainees and retired GPs across England are writing to ask you to help us improve care for the tens of millions of patients we serve.

Last year, general practice delivered 356 million appointments, 14% more than in 2019. However, since 2019, the number of fully qualified, full-time equivalent GPs has fallen by 2%. This has contributed to dangerously high workloads, with 76% of GPs saying their workload is impacting patient safety. We cannot allow this situation to continue.

As you have already acknowledged, it is absurd that some GPs are now struggling to find work when patients are crying out to see their GP. Successive governments’ underfunding of general practice and lack of workforce planning means there simply is not sufficient funding to enable practices to recruit the GPs they need, and this is jeopardising the standard of care patients receive.

The current NHS Long Term Workforce Plan only aims to increase the number of fully qualified GPs by 4% by 2037, compared to a 49% growth in hospital consultants. This would leave an already chronically understaffed general practice woefully unprepared to meet the growing needs of patients. This would fly in the face of your manifesto commitment to shift resources to primary care and community services to focus on prevention and enable patients to receive the care they need, closer to home.

We therefore ask you to urgently review the NHS's Long Term Workforce Plan to better reflect your manifesto commitments. We need a comprehensive plan to provide sufficient capacity to train more GPs, do much more to retain the GPs we have, and ensure practices have the infrastructure and resources to employ enough GPs and their teams to deliver safe, timely and appropriate care.

General practice has been ignored for too long, and our patients are paying the price – and as the front door to the NHS, this has serious repercussions for the rest of the NHS. A well-funded general practice service, staffed with enough GPs, will alleviate pressures across the NHS. I hope you will recognise this and tackle the GP workforce crisis as a priority in your new role.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Kamila Hawthorne

Chair of Council

Royal College of General Practitioners alongside 9747 GPs, trainees and retired GPs across England



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