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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GP workforce declines by over 400 in just three months

The number of full-time equivalent GPs dropped by 1.3% in the last three months of 2016, new workforce figures reveal.

Official data from NHS Digital, published today, show a decline of 445 FTE GPs, including registrars, locums and retainers, between 30 September and 31 December, from 34,495 to 34,050.

Headcount fell by 0.9% in the same time period, a decrease of 390, to a total of 41,475.

Excluding registrars, locums and retainers, FTE GP numbers fell by 1.1% (323 FTE GPs), from 28,458 to 28,135.

There was a 0.8% decrease in headcount numbers, of 287, when excluding these staff groups, to 34,549, in the three-month period.

The statistics, which are billed 'experimental', come despite Government efforts to grow the overall GP workforce by 5,000 by 2020.

This has included the ’10-point plan’ to boost recruitment and retention drawn up in January 2015, and comes despite HEE reporting a record number of doctors opting for GP training in 2016/17.

When the overhauled methodology for counting GPs was first reported, in April 2016, it showed a 2% decrease in GP numbers from September 2014 to September 2015.

And last year, the numbers fell by 0.3% (95 GP FTEs) from September 2015 to 2016.

The annual comparison in September should represent the high point for GP recruitment as it includes the largest intake of new GP trainees as well as newly qualified GPs.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: 'GPs are the absolute bedrock of the health service and we remain committed to an extra 5,000 doctors in general practice by 2020.

'We have made important strides over the last year to improve conditions to attract more GPs - such as paying a large amount of GP indemnity costs, cutting red tape, agreeing a new contract with their union to deliver a 1% pay rise, as well as bringing in new schemes to help GPs work more flexibly towards retirement.

'We currently have the highest number of GPs in training than ever before, and we know that it will take time for this to impact on GP workforce numbers.

'We will also take strong action to make sure the almost 600 practices who have not yet reported their workforce numbers do so.'

 

 

Readers' comments (32)

  • It seems GPs were not bluffing when surveys found a high percentage were planning to leave in the next 5 years.

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  • THE "TIPPING POINT HAS ARRIVED".

    THE BAND IS STILL PLAYING ON THE DECK BUT WE ARE NOW LISTING !

    THE WATER LOOKS RATHER COLD DOWN THERE.

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  • Well knock me over with a feather, who'd a thought it! Well done Jeremy.

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  • "THE "TIPPING POINT HAS ARRIVED".

    THE BAND IS STILL PLAYING ON THE DECK BUT WE ARE NOW LISTING !

    THE WATER LOOKS RATHER COLD DOWN THERE."
    But surely Last Man Standing rearranging the deck chairs WILL work??????

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  • THE QUESTION IS:

    HOW WILL HUNT SPIN THIS ONE?

    WILL THIS BE REPORTED BY THE DAILY NUTTER?

    WILL THE BBC REPORT THIS?

    THERE WILL BE PANICKED PHONE CALLS FROM HUNT'S OFFICE TO HIS "MEDIA CHUMS" AND MORE FEROCIOUS ATTACKS ON GPs COMBINED WITH PRIMARY SCHOOL MATHEMATICS CONCLUDING THAT NUMBERS ARE ACTUALLY ROCKETING UP....ALL THE USUAL CRAP.

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  • I wonder if Jeremy reads Pulse, i doubt it maybe he would learn something though !

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  • show a decline of 445 FTE GPs, including registrars, locums and retainers, between 30 September and 31 December, from 34,495 to 34,050

    Most trainees qualify in August.

    Are these results not just normal?

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  • the more that leave the better. market forces need to show people and the deluded leadership that a decent contract is needed for GP land to exist.

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  • Healthy Cynic

    I guess that's 445 newly qualified GPs who are waiting for Crapita to allow them to practice!!

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  • and in Northern Ireland it is so much worse here and yet, AND YET! Politicians fail to form an executive and fight about tribal politics letting public services fall apart, shame on them, SHAME ON THEM ALL, and a plague on both their houses

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  • NHSE celebrates with a bubbly at the news. In the near future but a couple of billions will be saved by liquidating this malicious Trojan's horse. It's like salesmen in shops giving you incentives to shop online. When everybody goes online and the shops close, they wake up and think of the pennies that were thrown at them by their Employers luring them to self destruction.

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  • As GP numbers go down
    and the workload and risk for the remaining goes up
    Its time we had footballer salaries
    (dream on)

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  • Dear Coal Face GP at 11.03hrs,
    Just out of interest, do you know how the collection of undated resignation letters form Northern Irish GPs is going?

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  • The number of GP trainees is being overestimated.

    These data should only include GP trainees in GP placements. In some areas with lead employers it looks rather like all GP trainees, including those in hospital posts, have been counted.

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  • Regardless of these figures, practising GP principles are having major difficulty in recruiting locums, let alone partners. I think this says it all

    If the total number of whole time equivalents is genuinely going down this is only going to make things even worse for existing practices. It will become like the domino effect. We will see huge numbers of GPs retiring, moving to other careers, not choosing general practice in the first place or emigrating.

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  • Also there are more than 3,800 individual GPs who are counted as more than one full time equivalent. You work long enough....they are allowed to count you as two full time equivalent GPs.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Agent Hunt and those in Ministry of Truth are merely zombies in Walking Dead when they insisted on the target of 5000 GPs by 2020.
    May be 5000 left by 2020 is the truth?

    There is Chinese saying well used in literature,' Dying ten thousand times is not enough for the desolation one has caused.' 萬死不足以蔽其孤
    This is for you , Agent Hunt and Lord Vader

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  • I think I'll go back to Turkmenistan . It probably has better prospects . ( loads of natural gas and lots of epic statues of our onetime president.) As soon as Jeremy gets a statue I'm off.

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  • Last man standing...this won't be reported at all.
    It's a good day to bury bad news what with all this brexit lark going on...

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  • AlanAlmond

    No doubt the net result of these figures will be vigorous efforts by the government to demonstrate GP numbers have 'never been so high' and 'recruitment into General Practice is booming'. Elements of the media will suck up this government propaganda and we'll be all reading stories come Sunday about something completely unrelated ..'cause no one gives a crap, and even those that do will be so confused by all the information/miss -information they won't know what to think. Government spin machine effective. Bye bye NHS full steam ahead.

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  • I think MPs genuinely don't understand and therefore value General Practice. The question is - how much worse will it get before it dawns on them that if we go -apres nous la deluge.

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  • You couldn't pay me enough to stay - already left practice - not even included in figures yet- like hundreds more.
    The real figure is probably double this.
    Still getting nightmares but the relief upon waking and knowing I don't have to go back is wonderful.
    I feel sorry for anyone left - look after yourselves - no one else gives a stuff!

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  • Only 2 days left after today. Another fte gone.

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  • I've just relocated and replacing a retiring full time partner. However, I have changed my sessions from 8 to 6 as it's just simply not worth working those two extra sessions once you take into account tax, child benefit, nursery fees etc. I don't want to do this. But the government need to wake up to the fact the figures just don't add up unless they start to pay us a decent wage

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  • Anonymous Locum GP

    let's be honest - nobody gives a ****

    personally, I've given up looking for support from the BMA, GPC, and medical leadership - it's everyman for themselves.

    look after yourself and organise your own exit - no help is coming.

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  • Siraj Shah

    Having really enjoyed working in the NHS, 12 years as a hospital doctor and 32 years as a GP I have decided to quit as soon as possible. I feel general practice in particular has become a very risky business: - fragmentation of the services, overwhelming bureaucracy, micromanagement, over regulation, lack of support, dumping of work from secondary to primary care, ever increasing demand from our patients, fear of litigation, free for all complaints process, demoralized work force, huge increase in practice running costs….I ask myself why on the earth do you want to be a GP!

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  • GPs "bedrock of the NHS"shame we are being undermined by the government ,CQC,press,GMC,BMA,RCGP ,MDOs et al.It feels like general practice is in the stocks while every thug in town is stoning us .At the moment sometimes it feels like someone should put us out of misery to stop the suffering.I pray for the end of this torture,it is an extremely sad situation.Im to old and too ill to emigrate,and not old enough to retire.I am stuck in the stocks.

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  • As others have stated, nothing is going to change for the good in the foreseeable future. Look after yourselves.

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  • Any figures on Phil Peverley's 5,000 extra GPs GOVERNING the rest of us? http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/views/blogs/peverley

    They are not 5,400 now? Or, are they?!

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  • Sorry folks! I'm finally leaving/retiring tomorrow after 42 years in the NHS; Lucky that the Practice is being taken over by a slightly bigger concern but no new doctors so when I go it will be another fte gone. There is always a catch! I've agreed to locum at my Practice for the next 4 weeks so that there can be a seemless transfer of responsibility to the new incomers. There were no takers for my single-handed remote Practice so I feel fortunate that, at least, someone was willing to take a chance. Au revoir my peers/colleagues!

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  • me too
    I was actually skipping on the way home yesterday with the excitement
    Well it was after a few celebratory beers
    A weight off my shoulders - I have escaped after 34.5 years

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  • cheerful as usual

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