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  • Valuations for GP premises sustainability loan in Scotland circulated

    Valuations for GP premises sustainability loan in Scotland circulated

    Wednesday, 25 July 2018 14:03
  • Doctors reminded to preserve patient records for UK Infected Blood Inquiry

    Doctors reminded to preserve patient records for UK Infected Blood Inquiry

    Friday, 20 July 2018 14:51
  • NAO gives NHS vanguards a mixed review

    NAO gives NHS vanguards a mixed review

    Monday, 02 July 2018 16:45
  • Scotland to expand international recruitment for doctors and nurses

    Scotland to expand international recruitment for doctors and nurses

    Friday, 22 June 2018 16:07
  • GP trainee round 1 recruitment increases 10%

    GP trainee round 1 recruitment increases 10%

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a stethoscope image cbFebruary 16 2018

The latest provisional general practice workforce data has shown a slight increase in the number of GPs in full-time equivalent terms. However, the RCGP says the figures indicate GP numbers are down.

NHS Digital has released the data, which for the first time includes information on all general practice staff groups: GPs, nurses, direct patient care, and administrative.

Headline figures for the period September 30 to December 31 2017, are:

  • the total GP headcount (excluding registrars, retainers and locums) was 34,395 as at December, an increase of 128 (0.4%) from 34,267 in September 2017;
  • the total GP full time equivalent (FTE) (excluding registrars, retainers and locums) was 27,930 as at December, an increase of 94 (0.3%) from 27,836 in September 2017;
  • the total headcount was 22,871 for nurses, 17,955 for direct patient care staff and 92,652 for administrative/non-clinical staff as at December;
  • the total FTE was 15,847 for nurses, 11,788 for direct patient care staff and 64,565 for administrative/non-clinical staff as at December.

Following the release of the data, the RCGP said the figures show “GP numbers are down 0.6% from September 2017 to December 2017, to 33,872.”

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, RCGP Chair, described the figures as “very disappointing news – and frustrating as even a small drop in GP numbers can have a huge ripple effect on hard-working GPs, our teams and the care we are able to give to our patients.

“GPs are currently facing intense resource pressures, and we desperately need more doctors if we stand any chance of turning this crisis around … for some, the pressure has become too much and it's genuinely awful that some GPs are prematurely leaving a profession, which, when properly resourced and funded, can be so rewarding and fulfilling.

“But ultimately, it's our patients who suffer when we lose GPs and we need to make sure that, as well as retaining existing and experienced doctors, measures are taken to attract new GPs to the profession for the future.”

Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, BMA GP committee executive team workforce lead, said: “It is a real concern that, despite the government’s repeated pledges to increase the GP workforce, these figures appear to show numbers going in the opposite direction. Though provisional, they show more than 200 fewer full-time equivalent GPs working on the front line than in September last year.”

He pointed out that fewer trainees are choosing to enter general practice, more senior doctors are leaving the profession, and large numbers are changing the way they work in the face of systemic pressures.

“This is clear in the 8% fall in the number of GP partners working in England since 2015,” he said. “Politicians must work with organisations such as the BMA to address the underlying reasons behind this recruitment and retention crisis, namely the daily struggles of managing increased workload in the face of unprecedented demand and dwindling budgets.”

Links:
NHS Digital. ‘General and Personal Medical Services, England As at 31 December 2017, Provisional Experimental statistics’. February 15 2018.             
RCGP comment            
BMA comment            

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