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Why GP practice list sizes are on the rise

Average list sizes are growing, while practice populations are getting increasingly older, new official figures have revealed.

A Pulse analysis of the latest Health and Social Care Information Centre figures on population sizes has revealed that the average list in England size grew by 2.8%, the equivalent of 197 patients, from April 2014 to April 2015, because of an increase in total patients and a fall in the number of practices.

Practices in some areas have had to cope with rapid rises – in the NHS Rushcliffe CCG area, in Nottingham, average lists increased by 2,098 – or 25.6%. The overall population in England has risen by 1% but the number of older patients rose by almost double that.

Much of the decrease in the number of practices has been down to mergers.

But some of the increase in the average patient list size has come as a result of a significant rise in the number of practice closures.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘The increase in list size means the workload is magnified. Coupled with the older population, this is resulting in workload that is much greater than raw numbers of patients.’

Data lowdown June