Latest GP workforce data for England shows drop of 1,700 full-time equivalent GPs in six years

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA

Location: England
Published: Thursday 4 November 2021
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Responding to today’s publication of England’s GP workforce statistics1, Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, BMA GP committee executive team member, said:

“Today, we still have around 300 fewer full-time equivalent, fully-qualified GPs in England than we had a year ago, even with the extra 100 on last month shown in this new data. And since 2015, when ministers first began making promises about increasing GP numbers, England has lost the equivalent of more than 1,700 full-time, fully-qualified GPs. For those left, the average number of patients each GP is responsible for has increased by around 300 – or 15% - over the same period.

“Most notably, between September 2020 and the same month this year, more than 900 GP partners have quit or retired.

“While new doctors may be choosing general practice, this is not keeping up with the high numbers of GPs leaving or reducing their hours in the face of unsustainable, unsafe workloads and rising hostility against the profession. Meanwhile, confusing and damaging pension taxation rules that punish senior doctors for working more are a barrier to their ability to provide care to patients – something the Chancellor failed to address in the recent Spending Review.

“Rather than merely recognising that they are way behind their target, ministers must do something tangible about it and take meaningful steps to retain GPs who have spent the last 20 months going above and beyond in the face of the pandemic. They need to listen to and work with GPs on the ground to reach solutions that support family doctors – without doing so they risk losing far more and the situation for patients getting far, far worse.”

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.

  1. NHS Digital, General Practice Workforce, 30 September 2021
  2. Find more BMA analysis on GP workforce figures, including details around NHS Digital’s methodological change on the BMA’s website.