Doctors are predicting that it will become more difficult for patients to see a GP in the future with budgets being cut.
The Royal College of General Practitioners carried out a survey on 206 UK GPs and found that more than 70% were forecasting longer waiting times within two years. Eight in ten also said that they did not have enough resources to provide high-quality care with six in ten saying that patients in England are waiting longer than the recommended 48 hours.
Primary care, including GP services, has become one of the worst hit due to funding cuts to the health service. Due to spending being effectively frozen for the past six years in England there has been little money given to health services.
There are now concerns that doctors won’t be able to properly care for the most vulnerable patients due to “spiralling workloads and dwindling resources.”
Dr Clare Gerda, chairman of the RCGP said: “GPs are grappling with a double whammy of spiralling workloads and dwindling resources, and big cracks are starting to appear in the care and services that we can deliver for our patients.
“We are particularly concerned about the effect this is having, and will continue to have, on waiting times for GP appointments.
“The profession is now at breaking point and we do not have the capacity to take on any more work without extra funding and resources to back it up.”
The survey showed that 78% of GPs had already noticed a reduction in opening hours and cut backs on the range of services offered over the last two years.
Ben Dyson, of NHS England, said: “We fully recognise that demands and patterns of healthcare are changing, and that this is increasing pressure on parts of the NHS.
“That’s why we have recently published a call to action about the future of general practice to help stimulate new, innovative approaches to providing services and ensuring every patient gets the care they need.”
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