Written evidence submitted by Dr Russell Thorp (FGP0019)


A GP for 34 years, lessons from my experiences in the profession

As I near the end of a hugely fulfilling and rewarding career working as a family doctor I regard the present state of general practice with dismay.

When I first entered practice as a principle in 1987 it was a real struggle to be appointed to a practice. Each vacancy had numerous applicants and now well respected practices in leafy suburbs cant attract a single applicant.

Individual moral is low, colleagues are reducing their hours and looking to retire early and they constantly complain about the pressure of work, patient demand and lack of capacity.

Patients are having difficulty contacting practices on the phone and when they do get through they have a “call centre experience”. They are triaged, dealt with remotely or sent to a lower grade of clinician (which come in a myriad of forms), when many would rather have a face to face appointment with their GP.

In my small practice there are 1850 pts with a high proportion of elderly (24.5% are aged 70 or over) living with chronic disease. There is just myself and a part time nurse. Yet my patients;

For my part

The two experiences of general practice appear to be totally incompatible, my colleagues have far more clinical resource at their disposal but appear unable to adequately meet patient demands. How can this be?

I make the following observations that may be useful to your review;

I wish you every success in your endeavours for one fact is clear, as time marches on, at some point I will be moving from a service provider to a service user!


Dr Russell Thorpe

The Old Links Surgery

Lytham St Annes


Nov 2021