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GPs say shortage of doctors puts safe care at risk

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GPs in England are finding it "increasingly hard to guarantee safe care" as the number of doctors falls and demand surges, a senior medic said.

Prof Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs, told the Guardian GP numbers had fallen by 4.5% despite an ageing population with an increased need for care. GPs feared making serious mistakes due to excessive workloads, he said.

Prof Marshall also defended the continued use of remote consultations.

Prof Marshall said the demand for services from GPs, including more complex consultations and the vaccination programme, on top of this decline in numbers was putting family doctors under strain.

"The fact that general practice is under such enormous pressure means it can't deliver the patient-centred services that it wants to. Many GPs are even finding it challenging to maintain a safe service," he said.

He said family doctors were more likely to make a mistake if they were working 11- or 12-hour days, seeing 50 or 60 patients.

"GPs are finding it increasingly hard to guarantee safe care to their patients," he said. "The chances of making a mistake in a diagnosis or a mistake in a referral decision or a mistake in prescribing are all greater when you're under stress."

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Source: BBC News, 11 September 2021

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