This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

pulse june2020 80x101px
Read the latest issue online

GPs go forth

Revealed: DH set to miss 5,000 new GP target by more than half

Exclusive The Government will fail to attract even half of the 5,000 extra GPs it promised by 2020, a Pulse analysis has revealed.

Pulse has calculated that, unless there are drastic changes in the number of people leaving and entering the profession, the Government is on course for increasing the workforce by 2,100 in the best case scenario.

The GPC reacted to Pulse’s analysis, stating that it showed the Government’s pledge to be ‘wholly unrealistic’.

Health secretary first confirmed ‘plans to train and retain an extra 5,000 GPs’ by 2020 at the Conservative Party conference in 2014.

But Pulse’s analysis reveals that the Government are a long way off attracting this number on current trends.

At the current rate, there will be around 13,000 GPs entering the system by 2020, including:

But this is balanced out by:

These figures don’t take into account an increase in the number of GPs that are looking at taking into early retirement, with a BMA survey last year revealing that one in three GPs are looking to retire within the next five years.

The analysis also doesn’t take into account the effect of the junior doctor contract imposition, which the BMA has claimed will turn off younger doctors entering a career in UK medicine.

GPC education, training and workforce subcommittee chair Dr Krishna Kasaraneni said: ‘The political pledge to recruit 5,000 GPs by 2020 is wholly unrealistic. Pulse’s data analysis shows how short we are likely to be.

‘We actually need a lot more GPs than this arbitrarily chosen figure to maintain a basic level of service to patients. With 600 GP trainee posts left unfilled last year and large sections of the workforce telling the BMA they intend to retire, there is little chance the Government will get anywhere near this target.’

The Government has changed the rhetoric on the target in recent months, and is now emphasising that the target included ‘doctors in general practice’ – which allows them to count GP trainees.

A DH spokesperson said: ‘Pulse’s figures don’t take the whole picture into account.

‘NHS England and HEE are working closely with the BMA and RCGP on a 10-point plan which sets out exactly how we will achieve this. We have been clear that our target includes registrars.’

How the Government’s target has been diluted

Jeremy Hunt - online

Jeremy Hunt - online

The DH now claims that the target of 5,000 extra GPs by 2020 will also include doctors in training, effectively giving it three more years to boost numbers.

But this was not health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s original pledge to the Conservative Party conference in 2014. His words were: ‘Tory conference, I can today confirm plans to train and retain an extra 5,000 GPs.’

And this was the rhetoric leading up to general election, with the DH saying it was committed to bringing ‘5,000 more GPs’ into the system by 2020.

But this rhetoric changed when Mr Hunt announced his ‘new deal’ in June 2015. The health secretary also said in the subsequent Q&A session that there would be ‘flexibility [in the target] because in some parts of the country it is very hard to recruit GPs’.


Readers' comments (23)

  • Usual lies and spin...

    I see that the teachers may try and join forces with JDs to have some form of joint strike action

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Vinci Ho

    It is becoming more apparent that the Tories had 'conned' voters with all kinds of statistics and figures in the last general election?(even Daily Mail used the words 'NHS election con' on 20/3/16). Felt 'relieved' I had cast a blank vote!
    The subject here is 'plan to train and retain'. For retaining , it is all about respect : Immanuel Kant's philosophy :- treat persons as ends , not means . Those who are still willing to stay and serve for NHS , are not assets or means to be used by theses politicians to earn their brownie points. Kant implicated that 'rational being' had dignity . Obviously , Lord Vader/Ozzy/Agent Hunt do not want to treat us as rational beings.

    For training , re-print my last comment :

    This government has really 'twisted' mentality on education , hasn't it?
    If the logic is making conclusion based on the intelligence obtained , the way this government conducts its business in education(at least) is merely a repetition of either Weapon of Mass Destruction(WMD) or ignoring genuine 'info' leading to a terrorist attack.
    The poor education secretary had a 'wonderful' time last week addressing to the teachers' union conference . It is a 'quality' of a politician that one had to speak out about something even one was not sure to believe .Whether we like universal academisation is not important . The government(or Simon said) said ,'this is the right thing , so believe it.'
    But then, that is always governed by a word called Credibility. Ozzy really thought he could have sighed with a relief when his Budget was approved by a small margin of 35 votes(typically IDS actually supported the approval after everything he said ). He underestimated the 'aftermath' ! Once again, his own party rebels geared up with everybody else on an issue which could potentially mess around the education system for our coming generations.
    Then when you look at the training of nurses , Dominic Howell's Government should 'get its act together' over nursing shortage in BBC Health News on 24/3/16 was insightful. The vacuum created by poor vision and investment for training our own nurses in last 10 years certainly contributes to this crisis in NHS. (Yes, Labour is part of the equation ).
    Then ,it is us and our forthcoming youngsters . If HEE really thinks it can cloud people's eyes with these ever-changing figures so as to avoid tackling the truth , nothing but the truth , our young medical school leavers , especially the elite ones, will just leave for somewhere else . Tell the boss of your boss how wrong they are if you still want to preserve your reflections in your mirrors!
    Even Confucius was realistic and once said in Analects:Taber series:-although scholars should always uphold the principle of serving for justice and benevolence , ' don't go into a dangerous country,don't live in a state with a chaotic system. Make yourself visible and serve for a government which is just and fair but otherwise , hide away.'........
    Diagnosis for this government:Haemorrhage of talents and experts...............

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I'm suprised they've attracted ANY extra GP's!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Who would want to be a doctor in the nhs. To get
    No rights
    Monopoly employer
    Continuously moving goal posts
    Multiple jeopardy of nhse, cqc, gmc, health ombudsman, vexatious patients or family members who have never met the doctor but feel they have the right to complain
    No whistleblower protection despite being a duty according to the GMC
    Do you need any more reasons to see why this will be a failure ?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • medicine tastes awful

    It is Mr Hunt, we all knew it is not possible to safely staff the NHS now or the near future(poor junior doctors).

    Mr Hunt is a man of spin and would manipulate to con the british public what a wonderful,safe and well funded the NHS is and that the future of the NHS is safe in his hands. He keeps repeating this in his interviews with the media...... Ha Ha Ha.
    Throw your NHS contract in the bin and become a locum - is the only way to fight back.The number of doctors/GPs holding NHS contracts is shrinking fast!! Is this the death of the NHS???

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Took Early Retirement

    "We have been clear that our target includes registrars.’" ER... no you haven't! It was just that some of us said that was what would be done to cook the books.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Doctor Dog

    Ha ha ha, ho ho ho,hee hee hee, arf arf arf, chortle chortle chortle, guffaw guffaw guffaw, snigger snigger snigger.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Nigel - Have you shared with our friends at The Last leg?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The government placed its bets on medicine always having enough applicants, no matter what. They failed to factor in the quality of the applicants and the time it takes to bring them up to speed. No amount of training during medical school, FYs and STs will ever replace the retiring and fleeing experienced docs. Its like trying to fill a bath with a pee shooter while its cut in half. If the demise of the NHS is what they wanted then they are bloody geniuses!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Even with willing volunteers for Primary Care there are not enough trainers . The NHS is wanted by the majority of people and is therefore a vote winner . There is no secret plan to get rid of it. The current situation is brought about by the government's ignorance and stupidity.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page50 results per page

Have your say