BBC: GPs in England say shortage of doctors puts safe care at risk

12 September, 2021

Extracts from a BBC news item and a comment from me below. Read online:


GPs in England are finding it "increasingly hard to guarantee safe care" as the number of doctors falls and demand surges, a senior medic said.

Prof Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs, told the Guardian GP numbers had fallen by 4.5% despite an ageing population with an increased need for care...


Comment (Neil PW): From a global perspective, the UK is one of the best served countries in terms of number of doctors per 1000 population. Each doctor is among the best supported globally in terms of meeting their basic needs to deliver effective care. And yet despite this there is increasing alarm about patient safety. In low- and middle-income countries, patient safety is severely affected on an everyday basis by (a) very low numbers of doctors (and other health workers) per 1000 population, and (b) inadequate support for doctors (lack of access to skills development, equipment, reliable information, systems support, medicines, decent salary, communication...). In some countries the number of doctors per 1000 population is less than 1% of the UK. Compare the numbers on this interctive map from the WHO Global Observatory:

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator,