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Number of registered patients in England rises 3% in four years

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