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GPs go forth

Average practice list size grows by more than 2% in just eight months

The growth in list sizes has accelerated with the average GP practice counting 169 more patients compared to just eight months ago.

Figures released today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre showed that average practice list size increased by 2.3% from the end of April 2015 to the end of December.

Pulse’s analysis of the figures show that should this trend continue, the year on year growth rate would be 3.5% - even greater than the 2.8% growth recorded during 2014/15.

The HSCIC statistics show a drop in GP practice numbers combined with a 0.9% increase in the total number of patients registered with a GP across England.

While practice mergers may be partly responsible for these trends, practice closures are also increasing and the data also show a drop in practice numbers - there are currently 1.36% fewer practices than in April 2015.

Birmingham LMC executive secretary and GPC contracts and regulations subcommittee chair Dr Robert Morley said: ’This comes as absolutely no surprise and is extremely worrying.

’Whilst some of the increase may be due to practice mergers, much is due to the accelerating number of practice closures, with list dispersals and patient displacements putting surrounding practices under even greater pressure and leading to a domino effect.’

Pulse has already reported on a further 25,000 patients set to lose their GP practice due to closure in 2016, while an earlier analysis revealed that over 160,000 patients had to re-register elsewhere due to closures in the two years leading up to April 2015.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health has mandated NHS England to ensure new ‘at scale’ models of general practice covers half of England’s population by 2020.

Readers' comments (4)

  • More worrying is that the impact of this on the Carr-Hill formula for small and medium practices is an increasing pressure on their GMS funding, which will eventually push them over the edge. Dominoes anyone?

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  • Practices are left to sink. They would never allow that to happen to an acute trust.
    GP's are treated like the lowest form of life as far by NHSE.
    Impossible to deliver block contracts which become more onerous every day.

    Ditch the contract comrades!

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  • How about one big practice with 60 million patients and no GPs? Could this be Hunt's package?

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  • This year our list has dropped for the first time by 2.5 % as compared to 10-15% annual increases in previous 3 years.
    Somehow, govt statistics can't help being skewed. The only way to explain HSCIC data could be closure of Practices and redistribution of patients which could jack up the numbers.

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