Dr Mike Smith has said that GPs are being “bogged down” by administrative work, as new figures reveal that some patients are waiting three weeks for GP appointments.
Appearing on the Mike Graham show, Dr Smith said GPs "don't actually want" to be tied in to the business activities of their practice, and that it was something "that needs to be looked at".
He appeared on the show to discuss new NHS figures, which show that one in 10 patients are now waiting at least three weeks for a GP appointment.
“There are something like 250,000 fully-trained GPs who don’t want to actually be tied in to the business activities of the practice," Dr Smith said.
“That is something that needs to be looked at. What other public service do you do it? We do it in general practice because it was the way in which the NHS took it over in 1948.
“But, it needs to be looked at from 2018, and not from 1948 because that is bogging them down with business affairs.”
The NHS data shows that in October, 2.8 million people secured an appointment more than 21 days after seeking it.
They included more than 1.3 million people who saw a doctor four weeks after trying to arrange an appointment.
'Why should the GP be seen as the gatekeeper?'
Overall, 10.3% of NHS patients waited more than three weeks for a GP appointment in October 2018, up from 9.4 per cent in November 2017 when the data was first recorded.
Dr Smith added that the fall in the number of doctors becoming GPs was also contributing to the problem.
“Why should the GP be seen as the gatekeeper? Why can’t the GP just be a Generalist?,” he asked.
“Years and years ago we were promised 5,000 more GPs, we are now 1,000 short. We haven’t had more, we have had less.
“Doctors are not going into it, and they are retiring early.”