Responding to the latest figures from NHS Digital which show a decrease in the number of full time GPs in general practice and no increase in overall GP numbers in England, Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, BMA Education, Training and Workforce GP lead said:
“These figures underline just how far we are from meeting the government’s own target of recruiting and retaining more GPs as we near the one year anniversary of the GP Forward View in England. Despite the constant promises from ministers that the GP workforce would be increased by 5,000, the number of full time GPs has fallen once again while the overall number has stagnated. While there have been encouraging increases in other healthcare professionals in general practice, what we really need are GPs who can deliver more appointments and other front line services to meet rising patient demand.
“There is also a great deal of uncertainty as Article 50 is triggered about the future status of doctors and other healthcare professionals from the European Union. With almost half of the 10,000 EEA doctors working in the NHS considering leaving the UK because of the referendum result this could further reduce the number of GPs delivering care in the NHS2.
“The NHS is at breaking point3 and it is not acceptable for this recruitment and retention crisis to be allowed to get worse. It is time for the government to act urgently to implement the GP Forward View with its pledge to deliver a long term, sustainable plan for a well-resourced and appropriately staffed general practice.”