The safety and quality of patient care in general practice in England is under threat from rising workload pressures, according to a new British Medical Association (BMA) survey of more than 5,000 GPs.
The Urgent Prescription for General Practice found eight out of ten GPs (84 per cent) believe that workload pressures are either ‘unmanageable’ (57 per cent) or ‘excessive’ (27 per cent) and are having a direct impact on the quality and safety of the care they deliver to patients. Only 10 per cent describe their workload as ‘manageable’, allowing the delivery of good quality patient care.
Respondents outlined a wide range of solutions to help solve these issues, such as increased provision of enhanced community nurses to manage vulnerable housebound patients (64 per cent); additional help to enable patients to safely self-care (59 per cent); and greater provision of mental health workers (53 per cent) in the community.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA GP committee chair, said: “Many practices are being overwhelmed by rising patient demand, contracting budgets and staff shortages which has left them unable to deliver enough appointments and the specialist care many patients need.
“Addressing the crisis in general practice requires a clear strategy that tackles the numerous problems undermining local GP services. We need an urgent expansion of the workforce in both practices and community-based teams, with GPs calling for an increased number of nurses to look after housebound patients and mental health workers to cope with growing demand in this area.
“Better information for patients about how to safely self-care and wider funding increases for general practice are also needed.”
The findings were also categorised into regional areas, whereby the South East (86 per cent), the West Midlands (86 per cent) and Yorkshire and Humberside (86 per cent) had the highest rates of GPs reporting unmanageable levels of workload.
Read more about the research here