GP and childMore than 70 per cent of doctors fear patients could face longer waiting times over the next three years, due to cuts to services.

In a survey carried out by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), more than 80 per cent of GPs felt they now had insufficient resources to provide high quality patient care, while nearly half – 47 per cent – said they have cut back on the range of services they offer to patients.

Eighty per cent expressed concern over treating elderly patients, while 39 per cent said they had make cuts to practice staff.

As a result of the survey, the RCGP is calling on the government to invest in general practice to save patients from unnecessary suffering.

Dr Clare Gerada, Chair of the RCGP, said: “The results of our survey paint a bleak picture for patients, the profession and the future of general practice. GPs are grappling with a 'double whammy' of spiralling workloads and dwindling resources, and big cracks are now 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. We fully understand that patients are already frustrated - and GPs are doing their best to improve access to appointments – but the profession is now at breaking point and we do not have the capacity to take on any more work, without the extra funding and resources to back it up.

“GPs currently make 90% of patient contacts for only 9% of the NHS budget in England. Some GPs are making up to 60 patient contacts in a single day, which is not safe, for patients or GPs. 

“We are working our hardest to make sure that patients are not affected but the status quo is no longer an option. We must have an emergency package of additional investment for general practice to protect GP services and protect our patients from even deeper cuts to their care and longer waiting times.”