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Wessex LMCs Key Patient & Media Messages

The messages outlined below will help enable General Practice to devote its resource to deliver safe and effective patient care.

Why can it sometimes be difficult to get an appointment?...

General Practice is open and is offering face to face appointments, but it is also....


GPs and their practice teams are delivering a high number of consultations, and face to face appointments are available to patients where there is a clinical need.

NHS Digital Data shows that the percentage of appointments booked to take place face-to-face has increased from 62% in February 2022 to 70.7% in February 2023.

Consultation rates per patient have increased, leading to GPs and their teams working harder than ever to prioritise patient care. In March 2023, there were over 62.4 million patients registered in England, resulting in an average of 9,740 patients per practice. (Source: BMA analysis of NHS General Practice Workforce data).

NHS Digital Data shows that in October 2022, the highest number of GP appointments ever was offered at an estimated 36.1 million appointments across England - a record high

GP workload is much more than patient contact...

GPs are faced with unmanageable workloads coupled with a rapidly shrinking and exhausted workforce. The Covid-19 pandemic has generated a vast backlog of care. This backlog is so far largely unmeasured and unrecognised in General Practice. It is exerting increasing pressure on a system that is already at breaking point. Patient contact is only part of the daily workload for General Practice. Some GPs are having to reduce patient facing sessions to keep on top of the unseen workload.


General Practice is working harder than ever....

This visual represents the unseen daily work being carried out by GPs and their teams in addition to patient contact*

Work needs to be carried out by government to alert the public of the intense pressures that General Practice is under, rather than making GPs try to do more work with fewer resources.

*Wessex LMC version with thanks from e-GP Learning who created the concept

GP retention is as vital as GP recruitment...

The most impactful way to meet the growing patient demand is to expand the general practice workforce. In February 2020, in a bid to reverse the stasis in GP workforce numbers, the government announced a drive to recruit an additional 6,000 GPs by 2024.

Yet despite these promises, the government has failed to deliver, and as of March 2023 we now have the equivalent of 2,059 fewer fully qualified full-time GPs compared to the September 2015 (Source: NHS Digital General Practice Workforce Statistics)

GPs are leaving the workforce at all stages of their career with many citing exhaustion and burnout as a result of unmanageable workload. With mounting pressures in general practice, these losses are set to continue further if the government does not take appropriate action. The RCGPs Fit for Future Report found that 39% of GPs surveyed are seriously considering leaving the profession within the next five years. This could translate to over 22,000 GPs leaving the workforce.

It takes 10 years to train a fully qualified from entry to medical school. To have an impact in short-terms needs there needs to be greater focus on doing more to retain the GPs we have. GPs need to be supported to remain working in general practice for longer.

Please be patient and kind to General Practice staff...


It's recognised that waiting for an appointment can be frustrating. GP practices are there to support their community, and ask patients please show them support and understanding by being kind, patient and responsible when accessing their services. 


General Practices first duty is to their patients. They want to be able to provide safe, high-quality care to patients, without risking others or themselves. At a time of unprecedented pressures, they must make changes to their systems to preserve patient care in the face of a shrinking workforce and rising workloads.

Patients will receive all the services they need, but not necessarily those they may want. Demand for services can be high at times, and staff appreciate it can take a while to speak to a member of the team, but kindly ask that patients be courteous and respectful.

During these difficult times, practice teams are working hard to protect both staff and patients. Help practices focus on caring for you. Let’s make sure General Practice continues to be a great place for staff, and patients to be cared for.

Your GP surgery needs your support, so it can be there to support you...

  GP staff are grateful for the support and understanding of patients which was reflected in the July 2022 GP Patient Survey
72% of those surveyed had a positive overall patient experience of General Practice.
93% of those surveyed gained confidence and trust in the healthcare professional they saw.
94% of those surveyed say their needs were met at their last appointment

What can patients do to help?...

We ask that patients support their surgery so it can be there to support them. General practice desperately needs help, which is why the BMA are calling on the Government to provide the funding needed to provide better services and more GPs, and staff to see people promptly.

  Please take a minute to sign the BMA petition and show your support for your local practice by visiting or scan the QR code.
Practices, download the key messages film for use in your waiting rooms here. To have your practice logo added, please email

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Updated on Friday, 12 May 2023 1639 views