GP leaders have warned that the crisis facing general practice is set to worsen as new figures showed another drop in the number of GPs in England – despite government pledges to expand the workforce by 5,000.
The latest report from NHS Digital shows a fall in the number of full time GPs by nearly 100, while overall there has been no real increase in the number of GPs working in GP practices.
Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee deputy chair, said:
“These figures clearly demonstrate that the crisis in general practice is getting worse, not better. GP practices across England are struggling to provide enough appointments because they do not have the GPs to see the sheer number of patients coming through the surgery door.
“This disastrous situation makes it all the more important that NHS England and the government step up the speed of delivery of their commitments to invest in general practice and expand the wider workforce. Politicians have repeatedly promised that they will deliver more GPs to help improve patient care. It's also vital that everyone in government backs GPs and their hardworking teams rather than denigrating them, such as in recent comments by the prime minister. This unfair criticism will do nothing to address the fact that too few medical graduates are choosing a career as a GP and many experienced GPs are opting to leave the NHS altogether.”