UK & World News
'Overworked' Doctors Fear Missing Illnesses
More than eight out of 10 GPs have said they fear missing serious illnesses in patients because they are so overworked, according to a survey.
Nine out of 10 family doctors, meanwhile, feel their general practices do not have sufficient resources to provide high quality care.
The survey was carried out by the Royal College of General Practitioners, the professional membership body for family doctors.
The results were released the day after it was claimed patients in some NHS hospitals are at risk of unsafe care because of staff shortages.
Dr Peter Carter, the chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, told Sky News some nurses were having to look after 15 patients on a ward when draft guidelines for the NHS will recommend eight is a suitable number.
When asked whether they are worried about missing signs of a serious illness because of their workload, 29% of GPs said they worried "a great deal", while 55% said they worried "a fair amount".
The poll found 96% of GPs felt their job was stressful, while the same number said morale had decreased in the last five years.
Seven in 10 (70%) believed GP practices will not exist in 10 years' time because of a funding crisis.
The college said that despite accounting for 90% of all NHS contacts, GP practices are allocated just 8.4% of the NHS budget.
Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, a spokeswoman for the college, said: "(This) is a damning indictment of the impact of the deepening funding crisis in general practice.
"Family doctors and practice nurses want to provide their patients with excellent patient care and this takes the right levels of funding.
"However, only 7% of GPs currently think sufficient investment is going into general practice.
"Our poll shows family doctors are severely demoralised and this can only be bad news for patients."
The Department of Health said the Government has committed to increase the number of GP trainees from 40% of all newly qualified doctors leaving medical school to 50% by 2020.
A spokesman said: "We've taken tough decisions to protect the NHS budget, which is allowing us to restore proper family doctoring, reform out of hospital care, and improve GP access for 7.5 million people across the country.
"But we know GPs are under pressure, so we're cutting GP targets by more than a third to free up more time with patients and increasing trainees so that GP numbers continue to grow faster than the population."