GP data testament to staff, but clock is ticking on addressing workforce crisis, says BMA

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA

Location: England
Last reviewed: 26 May 2022
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Responding to the latest GP workforce and appointment data for England, Dr Samira Anane, BMA GP committee workforce policy lead, said:

“It’s absolute testament to the dedication and resolve of GPs and their teams that they managed to triple the number of vaccination appointments in April – just a month after the Spring booster jab became available. Thanks to them, more than a million older and vulnerable people are further protected, and their chances of needing hospital treatment for this virus, dramatically reduced.

“Although the number of GP appointments dipped slightly, the number of face-to-face consultations has also increased, and almost half (45%) of appointments in April took place on the same day they were booked. Never has the myth that GPs are somehow refusing to see patients or keeping their doors closed after Covid been more untrue.

“It’s remarkable then to think that all of this has been achieved against a backdrop of chronic workforce shortages, and depleted resources and Government funding. In fact, today’s data shows that the NHS lost the equivalent of 26 full-time, fully-qualified GPs in April compared to the month before. It is clear that the number of GPs leaving the profession is in steady but sustained decline, with the equivalent of 1,622 fewer fully qualified GPs since September 2015, despite the fact that patient demand remains high.

“It’s incredibly worrying to see the number of GPs leaving the NHS get higher, and for each one that leaves, that’s another family doctor who is having to take on more work, become more vulnerable to stress, and also potentially leave a profession they love. Patient care is already under threat because of this, and the Government cannot afford to keep its head in the sand for much longer.

“Without real investment, a dedicated workforce plan, and enough resources for primary care to function properly, these monthly staffing figures will continue to spiral – and it’ll be too late for anyone to do anything.”

ENDS

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.