The number of fully-qualified, full-time equivalent (FTE) GPs in England is continuing to drop, with the BMA saying that its warning calls are being ‘systematically ignored’.
The latest GP workforce data showed that:
- There were 27,799 fully-qualified, FTE GPs in February 2022, which has dropped by 49 from 27,848 in December 2021.
- In the six months between September and February, over 120 fully-qualified FTE GPs have been lost, the official data revealed.
- The total number of FTE GPs has dropped by 50 from 36,191 in December 2021 to 36,141 in February 2022.
- Between December 2021 and February 2022, the headcount of GP partners has increased by 4, while the headcount of salaried GPs has decreased by 65.
- The headcount of GPs in training has also grown by 37 over the quarter, and the headcount of GP regular locums is down by 74.
BMA council deputy chair Dr David Wrigley said the data was ‘yet another example of the worrying trend currently facing general practice; that we have far fewer GPs seeing more patients than two years ago’.
He added: ‘This should be a wake-up call for a Government that has been woefully inadequate in its response to the crisis unfolding before it, despite being advised by the BMA, doctors and other healthcare professionals that this would be the consequence of their lack of attention.
‘It is apparent that both patients’ and healthcare professionals’ calls are being systematically ignored.’
GP numbers December 2021-February 2022
|FTE fully-qualified GPs||27,848||27,757||27,799||-49|
|Headcount fully-qualified GPs||37,269||37,113||37,123||-146|
|FTE GP partners||16,943||16,937||16,962||+19|
|FTE salaried GPs||9,872||9,803||9,831||-41|
|FTE GPs in training||8,343||8,252||8,341||-2|
|FTE GP regular locums||784||772||758||-26|
However, health secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘It’s fantastic to see more people joining our health service, with record numbers of nurses and staff overall working in the NHS.’
Last month, Conservative MPs have rejected a proposed amendment to the Health and Care Bill that would have mandated greater transparency on workforce, in a move condemned by the BMA and RCGP.
NHS Digital revealed that the overall number of staff vacancies in England has topped 110,000, increasing by more than 20,000 across 2021.
And Mr Javid signalled there will be no additional funding for workforce expansion as part of the work to clear the NHS backlog.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) told Pulse last month that NHS England would set out a workforce strategy ‘in due course’.