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​Workforce figures worse than official report suggests, BMA warns



The GP workforce figures released yesterday mask the reality that there are almost 450 fewer qualified GPs working than in 2015, the BMA has warned.

Headline workforce figures released by NHS Digital yesterday show that there were 350 fewer full-time equivalent GPs in June 2017 than in September 2015 – although there was a 0.9% increase from March to June this year.

However, the BMA has said that this doesn’t tell the full story, because the figures now include trainee doctors – unlike the equivalent figures for secondary care.

The workforce lead on the BMA’s GP Committee, Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, told Pulse that there are, in fact, ‘439 fewer full time GPs since 2015’ when only fully trained GPs are counted.

This shows a ‘lack of progress’ on Jeremy Hunt’s 2015 commitment of training and retaining another 5,000 GPs by 2020, he said – something Pulse has revealed in its own analysis.

Dr Kasaraneni told Pulse: ‘We are now half way through that ambitious timetable and sadly the omens for success are at best disappointing.’

He added that even the 5,000 target wasn’t adequate. He said: ‘Arbitrary numbers of 5000, 8000, 10,000 or whatever the next think tank come up with are meaningless. Address the workload, increase funding and decrease bureaucracy and that will ensure qualified GPs are retained and sufficient numbers of medical students and foundation doctors choose general practice as a career.’