Responding to the latest GP workforce and appointment statistics from NHS England, Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer, chair of the BMA England GP committee, said:
“It is positive news to see a modest rise in GP numbers within the past month, likely reflecting the newly qualified colleagues who joined the profession on completion of their training each August. What must not be diminished however, is how long they are retained, and our profound concerns regarding the longer-term trend in the number of fully qualified GPs massively declining in recent years. The truth is that we have thousands fewer fully qualified, full time equivalent GPs today than we did 8 years ago, and unsurprisingly, our current workforce is subsequently stretched beyond capacity.
“Back in 2015, we were promised the recruitment of more than 5,000 GPs. Instead, we have seen the number of fully qualified, full-time equivalent GPs decrease by more than 2,000 since then. As a result, and with a natural population rise across the same period, general practice has fewer GPs now responsible for significantly more patients. No wonder it's so hard for patients to access the care they need, and no wonder the pressure on GPs is only increasing, leaving many to consider the difficult decision to reduce their hours or leave the NHS altogether, to protect their own wellbeing.
“The good news is that we have plenty of solutions to halt the exodus of GPs, to retain the workforce we have, to return colleagues who have left, and to recruit colleagues yet to come. I would call on the Secretary of State for Health to work with me on solutions for his Government to show it supports general practice and therefore in turn, the health of our nation.”
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.
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