One of the things [the U.K.] Government promised to do is tell us more about the actual state of the National Health Service. As a result, we are able to publish information today relating to GPs and the number of patients on their lists. The news is not encouraging, to put it mildly.
An increasingly serious shortage of GPs means that, on average, doctors in poorer and more-hard pressed parts of the South East see 2,000 patients each. In the inner cities, it is not unknown for a single doctor to accommodate 6,000 patients, though this can be done only by working dangerously long hours – dangerous for both doctor and patients. As Dr Michael Dixon, chairman of the NHS Alliance, admits, once the patient total exceeds 3,000, standards of care are hard to sustain.