- 8 updates
With 372 million appointments this year and counting GPs surgeries are so busy they are now at "breaking point," according to the Royal College of GPs.
ITV news reporter Sally Biddulph has this report:
The NHS is heading for a "major catastrophe in primary care" if the government does not do something about it, Wimbledon GP Dr Paul Cundy has said.
He told ITV News:
Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard from the Royal College of GPs has said a reallocation of resources would help provide a better service for patients.
She said money invested into primary was proven to reduce illness and the need for patients to go to hospital as much.
She told ITV News: "We are at a crisis point."
Seven million people are now being offered GP appointments via Skype and email as well as out-of-hours in an attempt to combat overstretching of services.
The Department of Health said the number of GPs had also increased by 1,000 since 2010.
A spokesman said: "We know GPs are working under pressure which is why we have cut GPs' targets to free up time with patients and are increasing trainees so that GP numbers continue to grow faster than the population."
The crisis brewing in GP services from chronic under investment "will only get worse," according to Good Morning Britain's resident health expert.
Dr Hilary Jones, who is himself a GP, said overstretched services were the result of higher patient demand, an ageing population, and a lack of GPs all contributed to the crisis.
His comments come as the Royal College of General Practitioners warned GP surgeries in England will turn away patients over 50 million times next year as practices become increasingly overstretched.
The GP profession in England has been brought to "its knees" by a lack of investment, doctors' leaders have claimed.
The comments come after the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCPG) predicted patients will be turned away more than 50 million times by GPs in 2015.
Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, RCPG honorary treasurer, said:
Figures showing the number of patients expected to be turned away by their GPs are a "shocking indictment" of the "overstretched" system, leading doctors have said.
Research by the Royal College of GPs claimed the number of times patients will be unable to see their doctor will pass the 50 million mark for the first time next year.
The RCGP said if current trends continue, then in 2015:
- Patients in London will be unable to see or speak to a GP or nurse on 10.4 million occasions (increase from 9.3m in 2014)
- Patients in Birmingham and the Black Country will be unable to see or speak to a GP or nurse on 3.2 million occasions (up from 2.9m)
- Patients in Greater Manchester, will be unable to see or speak to a GP or nurse on 3.1 million occasions (up from 2.8m)
- Patients in West Yorkshire will be unable to see or speak to a GP or nurse on 2.3 million occasions (up from 2.2m in 2013/14)
- Patients in Merseyside will be unable to see or speak to a GP or nurse on 1.5 million occasions (up from 1.3m in 2014)
GP surgeries in England will turn away patients more than 50 million times next year as practices become increasingly overstretched, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has warned.
A lack of investment has brought the service to "its knees" as it struggles to meet patient demand, the professional medical body said.
Research of a recent patient survey predicted that patients may be turned away 51.3 million times next year.
Doctors' leaders said the figures were a "shocking indictment" of the system and warned the situation was only likely to get worse unless investment was increased.