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GP vacancies halved in last year, figures show

By Steve Nowottny

GP practice vacancies have dropped for the third consecutive year and fell by more than half since 2007, according to new Government figures relased today.

Statistics published by the NHS Information Centre show that the latest rates for GP vacancies open for 3 months or more is 0.3%, down from 0.8% last year. In Wales the GP vacancy rate is 0.2%, down from 0.9% last year.

The total number of GP vacancies, recorded for the first time this year, was 1.2% in England and 0.6% in Wales. Vacancies for practice nurses and practice staff have also fallen.

Researches said the latest fall in vacancies – which includes both salaried and partner positions – is part of a ‘continuing trend'.

But Tim Straughan, chief executive of the NHS Information Centre, said a decline in vacancies open for at least 3 months could benefit patients.

He said: 'Today's figures show long-term vacancy rates are continuing to fall across nearly all staff groups. This is good news for patients because low vacancy rates are likely to contribute towards better continuity of care.'

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