The latest GP workforce data, published today, shows that GP practices across England continue to experience significant and growing strain with declining GP numbers, rising patient demand, and struggles to recruit and retain staff.
Although there was a slight increase in fully qualified GPs in March 2023 (0.1%), we still have the equivalent of 2,059 fewer fully qualified GPs than in September 2015, and we have lost the equivalent of 463 fully qualified full-time GPs over the past year. In addition to this, the number of GP practices England has reduced by 92 over the past year – reflecting a long-term trend of closures, as well as mergers.
This coincides with a rise in patients: as of March 2023, there was a record-high of over 62.4 million patients registered with practices in England, resulting in another record-high average of 9,740 patients per practice, or 2,285 patients for each full-time equivalent GP. This is an increase of 348 patients per GP, or 18%, since 2015.
The latest GP Appointments data show that 31.6 million GP appointments were booked in March 2023, which is 4.3 million more than in February 2023, and 1.9 million more GP appointments than in March 2022, which is a significant increase and which demonstrates the increasing workload pressure on GPs.
Read more about the pressures in general practice here
Please continue to review your workforce returns to ensure they capture all hours worked in an average week, including CPD time, which may be done at home. For salaried doctors the value in the contracted hours box is used in the returns.
For contractors and zero-hours salaried doctors it is the actual hours box that is used. If you are unsure which box to use, please put the actual hours worked per week in both boxes. The website to file returns can be found here https://datacollection.sdcs.digital.nhs.uk/