GP workforce in 'precarious state' and needs urgent increase in GP numbers, says RCGP

Publication date: 03 February 2018

Responding to research from the University of Exeter on reasons GPs leave the workforce, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "This research provides important understanding into why GPs are leaving the profession – and hammers home why the College's calls for thousands more GPs must be heard and acted upon.

"GP workload has increased by at least 16% over the last seven years – and become far more complex - but the share of the overall NHS budget that general practice receives is less that it was a decade ago, and our workforce has not risen at pace.

"The relentless pressure has simply become too much for many GPs. Our workforce is in a precarious state – and currently well-intentioned plans to increase GP numbers in the NHS are at risk of falling short of target.

"We need the pledge of 5,000 more GPs by 2020 made in NHS England’s GP Forward View to be delivered, in full, and as a matter of urgency – but the latest workforce figures actually showed a concerning drop of more than 600 full-time equivalent family doctors between March-September last year.

"Ultimately, it’s our patients who suffer when we lose GPs, and this study not only highlights the need to recruit more doctors into general practice for the future, but to also take measures to retain existing and experienced doctors working in NHS general practice."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633/7410
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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