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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Number of APMS GPs doubles in a year

By Gareth Iacobucci

The number of APMS practice contracts is up 50% and the number of GPs working under them has doubled in the past year, according to new figures.

Statistics from the NHS information Centre show that there were 836 GPs working under APMS in 2010, up from 412 in 2009, reflecting the nationwide rollout of Darzi centres under the Labour Government. The total number of APMS contracts increased from 173 in 2009 to 262 in 2010.

Almost half of the APMS contracts are held by private companies, defined as those whose liability is ‘limited by shares or guaranteed by its members under a limited guarantee'.

Conversely, the proportion of practices holding GMS contracts has fallen from a high of nearly 60% in 2005 to 54% in 2010. The number of PMS contracts has remained almost static at 41% over the same five-year period.

Practice staff headcount rose by 17.0% between 2000 and 2010, which the Information Centre suggests could be attributable to the growth of APMS contracts.

It says: ‘This [the increase] is perhaps in part due to an increase in the number of practices now back to mid-decade levels but also the opening of the new GP-led health centres and polyclinics where such staff figure more prominently in servicing patients.'

The overall headcount of GPs increased by 0.5% last year, but the number of full-time equivalent GPs fell by 2.3%, despite an average annual rise in FTEs of 2.3% between 2000 and 2010.

The statistics also highlight the surge in the number of salaried and female GPs over the past decade, with an average annual increase of 29% in the number of salaried GPs since 2000, and an increase of 66% in female GPs over the same period.

The GP-led health centre rollout has contributed to a sharp rise in the number of APMS GPs The GP-led health centre rollout has contributed to a sharp rise in the number of APMS GPs

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