The number of patients registered with GPs in England increased by 3.3% between 2008 and 2012, DH figures show.
Official statistics, released by health minister Norman Lamb after a parliamentary questions, show that there were 55.7m registered patients in England in 2012, compared with 53.9m in 2008.
The GPC said the rise was due to an ageing population and patients being treated out of hospital, while the DH said the increase was in line with the rise in the general population.
GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the figures are evidence that GPs are under increased pressure.
He said: ‘These figures highlight the reality that GP services are under pressure from a rise in patient volume and demand. The increasing need of an ageing population and the movement of care out of hospitals means that GPs are seeing more people than ever before - undertaking an estimated 340 million consultations a year.
‘However whilst patient demand is increasing so too is the level of box-ticking and bureaucracy meaning GPs have less time available for people who really need them. We need the government to work with GPs and the BMA to ensure that the increase in demand and mounting pressures facing GPs are addressed.’
A DH spokesperson said the rise was ‘in line with population figures’.
General practitioner (GP) registered patients and population in England
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Population 51,815,813 52,196,381 52,642,452 53,107,169 53,493,729
Registered patients 53,944,734 54,609,309 55,019,190 55,308,092 55,736,347
Proportion (percentage) 104.1 104.6 104.5 104.1 104.2
Note: The number of registered patients is higher than the total population due to a number of factors, including patients dying or emigrating, as well as patients who relocate and register at a new practice before their registration at their previous practice is deleted.
Source: Department of Health