This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Practices provided an extra 20,000 daily appointments last year despite decline in GPs

General practice delivered around 1.22 million appointments per day in England in 2019, an extra 20,000 appointments compared with last year, according to new data. 

This is despite a decrease in the number of fully qualified full-time equivalent GPs, which dropped by 339 over the year.

The latest statistics from NHS Digital reveal an estimated 1.22 million GP appointments per weekday in 2019 compared with 1.20 million per weekday in 2018. 

GP leaders said the volume of appointments reflects the huge pressures facing practices across the country.

It follows the highest number of GP appointments recorded in a single month, after official data from October revealed an estimated 30.8 million consultations had taken place.

In the latest figures, the number of GP appointments in a month has declined slightly, but is still at a high level, with an estimated 27.4 million in November and 24.2 million in December.

BMA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: 'These figures show the intense strain practices up and down the country are under, managing increased demand with a dwindling workforce.

'So while the largest proportion of appointments are delivered on the day of booking, GPs are spreading themselves more thinly, not only risking their own health and wellbeing, but also meaning there are often long waits for patients to see their doctor.'

He added: 'Figures like today’s have become far too familiar reading, but the Government cannot afford to be complacent on GP workload. They must get a grip on the workforce crisis, follow through on their pledge to boost numbers and alleviate the severe pressure GPs and their teams are under.'

Last year, health secretary Matt Hancock pledged to increase the number of GPs by 6,000 - including trainees - by 2023/24 if his party won the election.

It came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to reduce GP waiting times so that some patients do not have to wait for three weeks to see their GP

The upcoming final People Plan will outline NHS England's workforce strategy for primary care, but currently has no set date for publication.

Readers' comments (4)

  • How many of these were provided by gp's and not the minions?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Let common sense prevail

    General practice delivered around 1.22 million appointments in England in 2019.

    I think this should read PER DAY

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • this calculates at 5.87 appts per patient per year with funding of an average of £25.55 per appt in england - this just about covers the cost of a HCA plus employers contributions and training costs. For £50 per appt the yearly fee is £293.50 per patient. this does not include weekend cover so the actual figure is probably lower and the cover cost per patient should be much higher. I think this proves we are grossly underfunded which is why practices are going bankrupt. private companies are not going to cover their costs on £50 per patient appointment either as they rely heavily on locums who are more expensive. The current funding model is unsustainable combined with the pension tax for going over the limits meaning doctors are forced to cut back on working hours - its a disaster. took me 10 minutes to work this one out Matt - i should not be doing your job for you - you should know this already and up the funding massively.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Any yet Hancock still want more value for money. BMA take back control. We cannot do it anymore. Say no. Even a dog's insurance or vet fee is higher. That cannot be right.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say