This site is intended for health professionals only

FTE GP decline continues as BMA says warnings being ‘systematically ignored’

FTE GP decline continues as BMA says warnings being ‘systematically ignored’

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

DecJanFebDec-Feb change
FTE GPs36,19136,00936,141-50
Headcount GPs45,55545,29545,453-102
FTE fully-qualified GPs27,84827,75727,799-49
Headcount fully-qualified GPs37,26937,11337,123-146
FTE GP partners16,94316,93716,962+19
FTE salaried GPs9,8729,8039,831-41
FTE GPs in training8,3438,2528,341-2
FTE GP regular locums784772758-26
Source: NHS Digital 2021-22 data

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’.

New research showed patient satisfaction with GP services has taken a 30 percentage-point dive since before the pandemic.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Dave Haddock 10 April, 2022 4:11 pm

Remind us Dr Wrigley, which organisation negotiated the GP contract that has proven do fantastic at recruiting and retaining GPs?

Patrufini Duffy 13 April, 2022 8:39 pm

Their plan has worked. Not.
Where is Prof Field and Prof Lampard when you need a CQC report of Inadequate for not doing an audit and having some carpet and no Legionella chirard test. And some reviews from Personality Trait types who give you a 1* for not having infinite same day appointments.
Let them deal with it.
The more headache you create them, the more value placed on your heads.
Push back the work.
Get out of the PCN.