Media comment: over-stretched GPs and their patients share safety concerns

  • Media comment

Dr Lisa Harrod-Rothwell, our Deputy CEO calls for a joint approach to systemic issues on World Patient Safety Day.

World Patient Safety Day is on Sunday 17 September and the theme is “engaging patients for patient safety”.

“Safety in general practice is a growing concern for GPs and those they care for alike. No patient wants to arrive in the consulting room to find an emotionally and intellectually exhausted GP, who lacks the time to hear their concerns, who is distracted by multiple competing demands and who no longer can ensure patients’ access to wider NHS services they need. No GP wants this either, the time has come for those working in general practice to join with their patients and push for the resolution of systemic problems which hamper the effective and safe delivery of every day care.

“The whole general practice team are struggling to maintain safe care against a headwind of increased patient need and long-standing underfunding, intense 12-plus hour days, poorly thought through national policies and scape-goating from the Government. Staff concerns about safe practice are driving stress and worsening mental health, if we don’t find a way to address this soon GPs will continue to leave. If workforce numbers keep dropping I fear the safety and quality of the service we offer to our patients will decline even faster.”

Dr Lisa Harrod-Rothwell, Deputy CEO, Londonwide LMCs


  • In our most recent workforce survey a third of responding practice say staff expressed concerns about meeting patent demand safely daily, whist another third say these concerns are weekly. Fewer than one in ten say concerns are never expressed (see below).
  • Dr Harrod-Rothwell covers safety concerns and other issues affecting retention in her recent report, Retention in London general practice.