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Numbers of the most experienced GPs continue to decline

Numbers of the most experienced GPs continue to decline

The number of fully qualified GPs working in England has continued to fall, especially those most experienced, the latest figures show.

There are 330 fewer full-time equivalent GPs than this time last year, according to the NHS monthly statistics which put the latest figure at 27,177.

Partner numbers are also continuing to drop with 16,445 FTE compared with 16,803 in July 2022.

It is a 12% drop from figures from the summer before the pandemic where there were 18,648 FTE GP partners.

Overall, when training grades and locums are included in the figures there are 640 more GPs FTE GPs than 12 months ago, the data shows.

Updated workload figures are expected next week but in June GP practices delivered 29.7 million appointments – 5 million more than December 2019.

The RCGP said unless something is done to address high levels of burnout shortages of fully-qualified GPs would likely get worse with surveys showing many GPs are considering leaving general practice in the next five years.

RCGP chair Professor Kamila Hawthorne said winter will be here all too soon with the additional pressures that creates for general practice.

‘These latest figures show that we are far from prepared, with the number of full-time-equivalent, fully qualified GPs continuing to flatline.

‘GPs and their teams have been working exceptionally hard, delivering millions of appointments per month but now with 952 fewer fully qualified, full-time GPs than 2019.

‘These pressures look set to continue for the foreseeable future as GPs deal with a growing workload, both in the volume of patients and the complexity of their illnesses, over the coming months.  

She added: ‘Many GPs are experiencing burnout, low morale and a sense of moral distress at not being able to offer patients access to much-needed care. 

‘We know that when GPs do leave the profession earlier than planned, it is often due to the pressures of the role which results in a vicious cycle effect, whereby the workloads of those who remain in practice intensify.

‘The simple fact is that we need many more GPs to ensure that patients receive the care they need and deserve.’

Last month, the BMA’s GP Committee warned that only a ‘massive investment’ in general practice would turn around the lowest patient satisfaction scores in six years after a ‘persistent failure’ by Government to get a grip on recruitment and retention.


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

David Church 24 August, 2023 8:08 pm

We are doing exceptionally well on the new NHS Plan Prime Minister. If we continue to reduce numbers of FTE GP Partners at the same rate, we are well on the way to delivering 60 million appointments per month from some time in late 2024; and this will probably be provided by only 1 thousand actual GPs, which is phenominal efficiency, I am sure you will agree.
There may be some delay in processing pension denials through capita for the remaining 996 full time GPs, but by the end of 2025 we should be seeing GP admin staff sending out GP-appointment invitations to every registered NHS patient fortnightly, for the last 4 NHS GPs, one each for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The number of appointments and service level is going to be so much better than back in the 1970’s, when we had 100,000 GPs spread out all over the UK, doing things differently to so few patients….

Adam Crowther 24 August, 2023 8:44 pm

Looks like people are practising kindness already and being kind to themselves first and foremost. Surely this ever increasing number of appointments and reducing GPs to do them or supervise people doing them has to give 😩

Dave Haddock 24 August, 2023 8:55 pm

RCGP are a significant part of the problem.

John Graham Munro 24 August, 2023 9:25 pm

It will only take another Covid onslaught——even a tiny one———to deliver the nail in the coffin

A Non 24 August, 2023 10:56 pm

Seriously outside the misery bubble no-one gives a sh-1-t.

John Glasspool 25 August, 2023 11:15 am

Pope admits to being a Roman Catholic

Anonymous 27 August, 2023 7:26 am

RCGP is indeed part of the problem.