Responding to the latest quarterly GP workforce figures1, which show 316 fewer full-time equivalent GPs in England since December, and more than 1,000 fewer since September 2015, Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee England chair, said:
“Despite repeated pledges from the government to increase the GP workforce, it is extremely concerning to see the number of GPs in England falling once again. It’s more than two and a half years since the Health Secretary promised to recruit 5,000 more GPs before 2020, and these figures are a damning progress report. With less than two years until this target date, the trend is clearly going the other way and it's a sign that a step change in action needs to be taken.
“As GPs struggle with rising demand, increasing workloads and burdensome admin, and are expected to do so with insufficient resources, it’s no surprise that talented doctors are leaving the profession and although the number of GP training places have increased, this is not enough to address the dire recruitment and retention crisis.
“With fewer GPs and a rising population, patients are finding it harder to get appointments, and the rest of the health service is suffering as a result.
“The BMA is working with the government in its independent review of the partnership model, and on commitments to deal with soaring indemnity costs for GPs by next April, alongside work to resolve concerns over practice premises. However, to make general practice an enticing career prospect once again we also need a step change in investment, something the government must urgently address.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a 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. For the full set of data, please see NHS Digital’s website