The Royal College of GPs have responded to recent media reports regarding increasing levels of abuse towards GP teams due to frustrations with appointment waiting times.

It said abuse was on the rise due to misconceptions that GPs aren’t seeing patients face to face and that it was entirely unacceptable for anyone working in general practice to be at the receiving end of abuse of any kind, let alone the threat of physical violence.

Further reading

General practice has been open throughout the pandemic and face to face appointments have been offered wherever safe and appropriate. According to the college, general practice is now making more patient consultations than before the pandemic, with well over half being face to face.

Real issue is huge shortage of GPs and ageing population

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, added: “It can have a huge personal impact on the mental health, wellbeing and morale of individual doctors and practice staff at a time when they are busier than ever, providing high-quality care to patients with Covid-19 and conditions unrelated to the virus, in addition to delivering two thirds of all Covid vaccines and preparing for the biggest-ever winter flu vaccination programme.

“The real issue is that we have a huge shortage of GPs and our workforce is not big enough to manage the needs of an ageing and growing patient population with increasingly complex needs. This was the case before the pandemic and it has only been further exacerbated by the events of the past year.

"The Government made a manifesto pledge of an additional 6,000 GPs by 2024 – plus 26,000 additional practice staff - and we urgently need these numbers to be delivered so that we can safely deliver the care and services that our patients need, now and in the future.”