Responding to analysis from the Health Foundation that forecasts a shortage of up to the equivalent of 20,400 full-time GPs in England by 2030, and new data from NHS Digital that shows a fall of 372 full-time equivalent fully-trained GPs in England in the last year, Dr Samira Anane, BMA GP committee workforce policy lead, said:
“How many more warnings does the Government need to wake up and act on the GP workforce crisis?
“This bleak yet sadly not unrealistic forecast shows how devastating it would be for patients and the wider health of communities if we continue to lose GPs at the rate we are now, with millions more patients losing access to ‘their family doctor’ and practices being forced to close.
“In the most recent year we’ve lost the equivalent of more than 370 full-time fully-qualified GPs in England, 116 of which were in the last month alone. Meanwhile practices and their staff are working harder than ever, with patients in England booking 3.6 million more appointments in May than the month before. Clearly as demand goes up and workforce goes down, this is completely unsustainable. We need significantly more GPs, not less.
“With an additional loss of invaluable practice nurses, as laid out by the Health Foundation, it would be catastrophic for patients and practices that rely on their expertise and care every day.
“But there are solutions and the Government needs to hear the cries of the profession for support and to be listened to. Action on meaningful investment, cutting bureaucracy and inflexibility that prevent GPs providing care for patients in the way they best need, inadequate practice buildings and IT systems that are not fit for 21st century care, and punitive pensions taxation rules that drive doctors away before they want to, would all make a difference to recruiting and keeping expert clinicians working within communities and protecting the future of general practice as we know it.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.