There were fewer GPs in 2013 than 2012, and they were working longer hours, figures released by the Government have shown.
In 2012, 32% of GPs were working less than full time, but this fell to 29% in 2013. Meanwhile the total number of GPs reduced marginally from 40,265 to 40,236.
The figures, unveiled via a response to a parliamentary question yesterday, came as MPs were also pushing the Government for answers on how they would reduce GP appointment waiting times.
In response, health minister Dr Dan Poulter said the Government was addressing this via the Prime Minister’s ‘Challenge Fund’, which incentivises 8am to 8pm seven-day opening, and via the element of the unplanned admissions DES that sees GPs provide same-day phone consultations to the most vulnerable 2% of their patients.
He said: ‘The Government recognises the importance of timely access to general practice. The Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund has allocated £50 million to pilot ways to improve access around the country, to give general practitioners the flexibility to meet the needs of the local population. These pilots will benefit more than 7.5 million patients across more than 1,110 practices.’
‘In addition, changes to the GP contract in April 2014 introduced a new enhanced service, which includes a commitment to same day telephone consultations with a professional in the GP surgery, where necessary, for the most at risk in the population.’
The statistics come as female GPs outnumber men for the first time, and despite the popular notion that female GPs are more likely to work part time.
Number of GPs
|Year||Working less than full time||Working full time or more|
Source: House of Commons Hansard / Dr Dan Poulter