GP workforce figures still moving in the 'wrong direction', says RCGP

Publication date: 27 February 2020

Responding to the latest NHS Digital data on GP workforce Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "GP numbers are continuing to move in the wrong direction with the number of fully-qualified, full-time equivalent GPs falling by 277 in a year.

"When you include GP trainees, numbers are more positive – and it is excellent that we have more GPs in training than ever before - but we are still only making slight headway in terms of the 6,000 target pledged during the General Election – and trainees, while qualified doctors, are in GP training to learn, so we should be cautious about relying on them for service delivery.

"It's also encouraging to see rising numbers of healthcare professionals in the wider primary care team – but these roles must not be seen as substitutes for GPs.

"General practice has been experiencing escalating workload pressure without the resource or workforce to deal with it for many years. This predicament is making the job 'undoable' for many and as a result experienced GPs are burning out and leaving the profession earlier than they planned.

"We need to see the forthcoming NHS People Plan published, and for it to include comprehensive retention strategies to keep experienced GPs in the profession longer, and to reduce 'undoable' workload to make the job more sustainable. It's the only way to keep the NHS frontline safe for patients."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7494/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659
press@rcgp.org.uk

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 53,000 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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