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Gold, incentives and meh

GP numbers decrease by more than 1,000 over past year

The number of full-time equivalent GPs in England decreased by 1,200 from September 2016 to September 2017, official figures have revealed. 

The official NHS Digital statistics also revealed that the total number of GPs decreased by 541 over the same period.

They also show a decrease of 1,300 FTE GPs since September 2015 – when the Government set its target to recruit 5,000 extra GPs by 2020, meaning ministers have gone backwards in their attempts to reach the figure.

The target was announced in June 2015, as part of health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s ’new deal’, with a pledge to increase the GP workforce by 5,000 FTE GPs by 2020.

However, FTE GP numbers have been constantly falling ever since, with the Government now having to find 6,300 more GPs by 2020 to meet its target.

NHS England announced earlier in the year that it is looking to recruit 3,000 GPs from overseas in a bid to help reach the target – despite Mr Hunt’s original aim specifying these extra GPs would be ’trained and retained’ by the NHS.

The figures also reveal that the NHS has lost 1,600 GPs since the release of the GP Forward View in April 2016, which was designed to boost recruitment.

The plans developed by NHS England involved an uplift in total GP funding of £2.4bn a year by 2020, and a separate package of £500m to implement immediate measures to support general practice.

This included measures to incentivise GPs to move to the areas hardest hit by the recruitment crisis, to incentivise GPs to stay in practice if they were considering leaving, and to smooth the process to re-enter UK general practice.

Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, the BMA GP Committee’s lead on workforce issues, said: ’The BMA has successfully lobbied the Government to invest more in general practice, with £500 million of recurrent, extra funding guaranteed in talks earlier this year to help alleviate the pressures on overstretched GP services.

‘But general practice still faces a stark workforce crisis with too many GPs retiring early and too few entering the profession, leaving many GP practices struggling, despite their best efforts, to provide enough appointments to patients. This latest fall in GP numbers demonstrates that the Government needs to work with organisations like the BMA to ensure we have a coherent workforce plan that gives GP services the capacity to meet rising levels of patient demand.’

 September 2015March 2016September 2016December 2016March 2017June 2017September 2017 - provisional
All practitioners 34,592 34,914 34,495 34,126 33,921 33,560 33,302
GP providers 21,937 21,597 21,163 20,835 20,702 20,499 20,234
Salaried/other GPs 7,292 7,436 7,295 7,300 7,390 7,359 7,603
GP registrars 4,729 5,114 5,273 5,259 4,799 4,647 4,346
GP retainers 67 78 72 69 81 84 90
GP locums 567 690 692 663 949 970 1,029

Related images

  • female gp with patient 3x2

Readers' comments (38)

  • Are we now starting to see the snowball effect? How long has NHS general practice got left?

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  • I'll be gone by Feb
    Leaving early too
    things that would have stopped me
    - limit to patients seen with overflow hubs
    -reduce enhanced hoops and add to basic practice income
    -Retain seniority
    -Run a separate service to cover nursing homes
    - dedicated community visiting service - these patients have different needs and need proper continuity by a community team
    -Appraisal 3 yearly like nurses
    - remove vindictive online trip advisor type ratings
    and so on
    I really hope the BMA and RCGP do something because I feel they are just as culpable for this sorry state we are in

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  • Go back and look at the chart in the GPFV. The numbers keep getting re-based. The starting point for the 5,000 additional GPs in the GPFV was over 35,000 FTE GPs.

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  • Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?

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  • Tip of the iceberg i think,aged 53 very soon and most of my peers like myself will go aged 54 or 55

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  • I'm going next June

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  • Tom Caldwell

    GPFV is going swimmingly then!

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  • National Hopeless Service

    This will be all over the front page of the newspapers tomorrow so the general public will know and understand our plight. Unless of course Mary Berry gets spotted wearing her blouse inside out and we get demoted to the bin.

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  • So tell me something that hasn’t been obvious for a long time despite government spin. I’m sorry for the rest of you left in the system but I finally quit a few months ago after 42 years full time in the NHS. I think that I’ve served my penance but feel guilty to leave the rest of you in the lurch although I wouldn’t like to be starting out now and felt that I experienced the best years of the NHS. Au revoir my friends and past colleagues.

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  • and the answer in NI is...............get retiring GPs back to prop up a failing system............this is not fair or right! We are in crisis mode and nobody seems to care, at least in GB you have governments of a sort who put up the pretence of listening and caring, in Northern Ireland we don't even have a quantum of solace in that sort of charade cause we ain't got a government here let alone a health minister for the past 10 months

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