Nearly nine out of ten GPs in the UK say general practice ‘in crisis’ whilst half say they can no longer guarantee safe patient care.

This is according to a poll by the Royal College of General Practitioners, indicate the extremity of the problems now facing general practice.

The poll also shows that 48% of family doctors think that patients now have to wait longer for a GP appointment, while four in five GPs are more likely to want to quit the profession than they were five years ago.

The survey, which was conducted by Research Now, shows that 93% of family doctors believe that working in general practice is more stressful than it was five years ago and 22% of family doctors have had to seek support, guidance or advice for work-related stress.

The poll also revealed that:

•    55% of GPs conduct 40-60 patient consultations each day

•    46% of GPs work at least 11 hours each day in surgery

•    84% say their workload has increased substantially

•    58% of GPs work at least until 7pm

General practice currently receives only 9% of NHS funding, despite family doctors carrying out 90% of the NHS contacts. The RCGP is calling for a 10% increase to current funding for general practice, including 10,000 more GPs – approximately one per practice – by 2022.

RCGP chair, Dr Clare Gerada, said: “The results of this poll show that general practice is in a state of crisis and that urgent action must be taken to restore the ability of our family doctors to deliver safe patient care for all.

“General practice is at the heart of the National Health Service, and if it starts to buckle, the whole of the health service starts to buckle and patient care in both primary and secondary care will suffer.

“The findings of this poll are truly shocking and they explode the myth, peddled by certain people in recent weeks, that GPs are somehow working less hard than other professionals across the health service.”

She added: “General practice has radically altered over the last five years, with ballooning workloads, and more and more patient consultations having to be crammed into an ever expanding working day – as the patient population grows older and increasingly suffers from an increasing range of ailments.

“The overwhelming pressure that many GPs now feel is leading to an upsurge in work-related stress and other health issues and we need to ensure that we can deliver safe care for all our patients. General practice must be given at least 10% of the ring-fenced NHS budget.”

The survey was conducted on the second week of June 2013 from 258 GPs across the UK.