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.