Pressures in general practice

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Despite the fact that most NHS contacts take place in general practice, there is no systematic data collection about the number of consultations, who undertakes them, or the nature of those consultations. This project aimed to increase our understanding of the workload in general practice and why GPs report feeling under so much pressure, and to make recommendations about what might be done.

Read the final report from this project: Understanding pressures in general practice

The King’s Fund undertook research to examine the pressures in general practice. We involved a number of GP practices in our research, which aimed to help policy-makers understand in more depth the pressures that GPs are facing.


Download a PDF version of this graphic illustrating the pressures on general practice

What did we do?

We collected data from GP practices across the country, and looked at this together with other large data sets to get some numbers about the changing demands on general practice.

We combined this data analysis with some in-depth interviews with a small number of GP practices around the country, to provide a fuller understanding about what is happening in general practice overall.

We published a report with the full results, Understanding pressures in general practice.

Main contact

For more information on this project please contact Beccy Baird, Fellow in Health Policy:

Primary care models: case studies

Increasing demands on general practice over the past five years – not just a heavier workload but the increasing complexity and intensity of work – coupled with insufficient funding has led to a feeling of crisis. The NHS is finding it difficult to recruit and retain full-time GPs and patients report difficulties in accessing care.

Our report Understanding pressures in general practice looks at patient factors, system factors and supply-side issues to see what lies behind this increasing pressure on general practice, finding that a lack of nationally available, real-time data has made GPs' changing workload largely invisible to commissioners and policy-makers.

Here we link to further information on some of the primary care models relevant to our report:

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