Workforce survey data insufficient to measure the workload, workforce, and welfare crisis in general practice

In response to today's release of the 2022 General Practice Workforce Survey, RCGP Scotland Joint Chair Dr Chris Williams said:

"The results of the 2022 Workforce Survey clearly demonstrate the need for significant improvements to data gathering in Scotland if we are to measure the workforce capacity and workload within general practice.

"Missing data and attempts to use scaling factors unfortunately mean that the utility of the numbers within this report are limited. We need reliable measurements, not estimates that are based upon on returns from a little over half of Scotland’s GP practices."

"It is, however, extremely worrying to see the drop in Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) estimate of GPs. The fall from an estimated 3,613 WTE GPs in 2019 to 3,494 in 2022 is a decrease of 3%- a reduction which cannot match the rise in workload in general practice. Our GP workforce urgently needs further investment."

"While the College supports the Scottish Government’s aim to deliver 800 new GPs in Scotland by 2028, we consider measuring GPs by headcount a mask to the true state of the general practice workforce. Up-to-date data on WTE GPs would enable a better understanding of the current workforce and its pressures, underpin workforce planning, and allow us to monitor progress against commitments."

"RCGP Scotland continues to call for Scottish Government to address the profound issues of workload, workforce, and welfare within general practice that are crucial to retaining our GPs. At a time of crisis in general practice, this data deficit is a barrier to effective workforce planning from the Scottish Government that must be overcome."

Further information

Media requests to Angus Gould
RCGP Scotland Policy and Public Relations Officer
Tel: 07808 795493

Notes to editor

RCGP Scotland represents a network of around 5,000 doctors in Scotland aiming to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standard of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on resources, education, training, research, and clinical standards.