The King's Fund comments on the Conservative Party's announcement on GP appointments

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Commenting on the Conservative Party’s announcement on GP appointments, Richard Murray, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund said:

'The latest GP Patient Survey shows that once people can get into their local surgery their experience is overwhelmingly positive but for many getting an appointment in the first place is the problem. These new commitments to improve capacity and access in general practice are welcome but the success of these measures will hinge on the ability to recruit and – more importantly – retain enough GPs and professionals such as physiotherapists and pharmacists.

'The volume and intensity of GP workloads is driving many to either reduce their hours or leave the profession altogether. While more GPs than ever are being trained, overall GP numbers are falling, with 6 per cent fewer full-time equivalent GPs in September 2018 than in 2015.

'Across the country, health and care services are grappling with severe staff shortages, with approximately 100,000 vacancies in NHS trusts and 122,000 vacancies in social care at any one time. If the next government wants to improve the care and support available to patients and the public, they must first tackle the workforce crisis.'

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The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.