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Average practice list sizes are rising sharply and may now top the 6,000 patient mark.
The widespread closure of singlehanded and small practices in the past 18 months has driven the figure up from around 5,500 in 2003. The UK population has also increased by 1 million.
Funding for the new GMS contract is based on a list size of 5,891 but Department of Health figures show an average practice with just over three partners has 5,995 patients.
GPC chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said the actual numbers could be even higher than that.
The increase does not have serious implications for capitation-based global sum payments, but Dr Meldrum said there may have to be increases in quality payments to reflect the extra work.