The GP workforce is declining at a time when the workload of GPs has increased by 16% in the last five years. At the same time, the cases that GPs are working on have become more complex. The population is ageing and its health needs are changing, and we estimate that by 2025, 9.1m in the UK will be living with multiple serious long-term conditions. Patients with long-term conditions account for 55% of all GP appointments.

One in five GPs are approaching retirement, and urgent action is needed to tackle the workforce crisis across.

We are working to promote general practice as an attractive career; attract more GPs back into the profession and remove the barriers that prevent them from doing so; and developing tailored solutions to keep different groups of GPs in the workforce including those approaching the end of their career and those with family commitments.


The GP Forward View has committed NHS England to recruiting 5000 FTE doctors to GP by 2021. This is to be done by making GP a more attractive specialty to medical students, incentivising GPs to return to practice, and recruiting doctors from overseas.

We successfully lobbied NHS England to expand its overseas recruitment programme from 500 to 2000 additional GPs by 2020. To support this, we are campaigning to remove barriers to GPs coming to and remaining in the UK, including lobbying for GPs to be placed on the Shortage Occupation List.

We also launched a GP workforce 10 point plan in partnership with the BMA, HEE and NHS England, and are campaigning to make sure general practice is as attractive as possible for the next generation of doctors.

The College has also invested in a new 'returner' scheme, which will fund induction and support packages for GPs returning from a career break or working abroad to ensure they are ready to return to practice.


General practice in Wales is facing a workforce crisis and the College has been calling on Welsh Government to expand the GP workforce by 485 GPs by 2021. General practice in Wales has an ageing population and retention is also a real concern, with the percentage of GPs leaving the workforce rising.

To help tackle the crisis, we have been campaigning for Welsh Government to increase the number of GP training places to 200 a year, help improve GP retention rates and to increase the percentage of Welsh domiciled students accepted to study medicine in Welsh universities.

Our campaigning has contributed to a 16% increase in the number of junior doctors choosing to train as GPs in Wales, demonstrating the impact of our campaigns on student career choice.


RCGP Scotland workforce analysis has shown that there will be a shortfall of 856 Whole Time Equivalent GPs by 2021. In addition, general practice has an ageing workforce with almost one fifth (19.9%) of the workforce in 2015 being aged 55 or over.

To help tackle the challenges facing the GP workforce, we have been calling on the Scottish Government to help boost GP numbers by further investing in a high-profile recruitment campaign to attract GPs and do more to increase GP trainee numbers. RCGP Scotland also Chairs the GP Recruitment and Retention Advisory group, bringing together high-level stakeholders, including the Scottish Government, to help tackle the problems facing the GP workforce.

Northern Ireland

RCGPNI has been calling for the GP workforce to be expanded by 272 GPs by 2021. Over the past few months, RCGPNI has been working to promote general practice as a career to undergraduate medical students.

The College facilitated a series of student electives over the summer months and it is hoped that the programme will be up-scaled in 2018. In addition, the College has been working towards creating local 'GP profiles' to showcase the variety of primary care careers.

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