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Number of GP practices fell by more than 200 last year

The number of GP practices in England fell by more than 200 – nearly 3% – in 2015, official data has revealed.

The publication from the Health and Social Care Information Centre showed there was 7,674 GP practices on 30 September 2015, 201 (2.6%) fewer than in 2014.

The figure includes practices closing altogether, as well as practices consolidating via mergers with other existing practices.

The data also revealed a change in the type of contracts held by practices, with the number of PMS contract dropping to 2,584 practices in 2015 from 3,143 practices in 2014.

The number of APMS contracts also dropped, from 290 to 269, around a third of which are held by private companies.

It comes as Pulse revealed in January that full surgery closures hit a three-year high in 2015, with the investigation unveiling 72 practices that closed altogether, compared to 51 in 2014.

The new data also showed that full-time equivalent GP numbers decreased by an estimated 2% last year, in a blow to the Government’s pledge to grow the workforce by 5,000 during this Parliament.