Key statistics and insights

Key general practice statistics for England

Last updated: Wednesday 10 January 2024

High quality data is vital to developing an accurate understanding of the current state of general practice, as well as the trends which are likely to affect the future. A strong evidence base helps to inform effective policy making and to ensure that public narratives are accurate.

The RCGP has collated the following key statistics to provide an easily accessible source of information on the important work being delivered by general practice as well as the challenges facing the profession. This is designed to be a helpful resource for communicating with the public, press and policymakers. 

These figures will be updated on a monthly basis as new data is released. Please note that all figures are currently for England only. We are working to produce similar information for each nation of the UK where possible, given the data available, and will update this page in due course.

If you wish to download or print this page for reference, you can do so by clicking the three dots in the top right-hand corner and selecting 'print' followed by 'save as PDF'.

GP patient workload

This section describes trends in the average number of patients looked after by each General Practitioner, as well as the total number of consultations delivered by all general practice staff within a year.

  • The number of patients per GP is 2,290 as of November 2023, this is an increase of 6.9% since 2019 1,2,3
  • General practice staff delivered 340 million appointments in 2022, which is 9% more than in 2019 4,5

GP numbers – November 2023 6

This section describes trends in the number of GPs (excluding registrars), as well as the number of practices.

  • As of November 2023, there are 27,483 fully qualified full-time equivalent GPs, 2.3% less than in December 2019 (and 6.4 % less than in 2015)
  • As of November 2023, there are 37,308 full time equivalent GPs (including trainees), 8.1% more than in December 2019 (and 8.5% more than in 2015)
  • GPs in training formed 26.3% of the full-time equivalent workforce in November 2023, compared to 19% in December 2019 (and 15% in 2015)  
  • As of November 2023, there are 6,355 GP practices, 7.0% fewer than in 2019 7,8

Inequalities

This section explores the average number of patients looked after by each GP in the most income-deprived areas vs the least income-deprived areas, the average income of a GP in these areas, and the economic impact of increased investment in primary care.

  • As of Oct 2022, practices in areas with the highest levels of income deprivation have on average 300 (14.4%) more patients per fully qualified GP than practices with the lowest levels of income deprivation. This discrepancy has increased 50% since Oct 2018 9 
  • Research from the Health Foundation in 2021 showed that after accounting for the increased workload associated with greater health needs in more deprived areas, GPs in deprived parts of England received 7% less funding per need-adjusted patient than GPs in affluent areas 10
  • The NHS confederation has calculated that if funding patterns across all areas matched those that increased spending the most, every additional £1 spent on primary care would increase economic output by £14 11

GP experiences - RCGP Tracking Survey of 1262 GPs, 2022 12

This section describes data on GP's experiences of the effect of workload pressures on the quality of patient care that can be delivered.

  • 68% of GPs say they don't have enough time in appointments to adequately assess and treat patients
  • 64% of GPs say they don't have enough time in appointments to build the patient relationships they need to deliver quality care
  • 65% of GPs who say patient safety is being compromised due to appointments being too short

Appointment data - November 2023 13,14

This section describes trends in the time between booking and delivery of consultations in general practice, as well as the mode of delivery.

  • General practice staff delivered 31.9 million consultations in November 2023
  • 13.4 million consultations were delivered on the same day as booking (2.6 million more than in November 2019), this was 43% of all appointments
  • 26 million consultations were delivered within two weeks of booking (4.3 million more than in November 2019), this was 83% of all appointments 
  • 21.4 million consultations were carried out face to face (compared to 21.5 million in November 2019 ), this was 68% of all appointments 
  • 14.3 million consultations were led by GPs (0.9 million more than in November 2019), this was 46% of all appointments

1. NHS Digital, "General Practice Workforce, 30 November 2023", January 2024. [Online] [Accessed 04/01/2024].
2. NHS Digital, "Appointments in General Practice, November 2023", January 2024. [Online]. Available [Accessed 04/01/2024].
3. NHS Digital, "Appointments in General Practice, May 2022”, June 2022. [Online]. Available [Accessed 30/03/2023].
4. NHS Digital, "Appointments in General Practice, November 2023", January 2024. [Online]. [Accessed 04/01/2024].
5. NHS Digital, "Appointments in General Practice, June 2021”, July 2021. [Online]. Available [Accessed 31/05/2023].
6. NHS Digital, "General Practice Workforce, 30 November 2023", January 2024. [Online]. Available [Accessed 04/01/2024].
7. NHS Digital, "Appointments in General Practice, November 2023", January 2024. [Online]. Available [Accessed 04/01/2024]. 
8. NHS Digital, "Appointments in General Practice, May 2022”, June 2022. [Online]. Available [Accessed 31/05/2023].
9. Office for National Statistics, "Trends in patient-to-staff numbers in General Practices in England: 2022", December 2022. [Online]. Available [Accessed 06/02/2023]. 
10. The Health Foundation, "Response to the Health and Social Care Select Committee’s inquiry – The Future of General Practice", 2021. [Online]. Available.
11. NHS Confederation, “Creating Better Health Value: Understanding the economic impact on NHS spending by care setting”, August 2023. [Online]. Available [Accessed 01/12/2023]
12. RCGP, "Fit for the Future: A new plan for GPs and their patients", 2022. [Online]. Available
13. NHS Digital, "Appointments in General Practice, November 2023", January 2024. [Online]. Available [Accessed 04/01/2024].
14. NHS Digital, "Appointments in General Practice, April 2022”, May 2022. [Online] Available [Accessed 04/01/2024].

RCGP surveys

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, horizons continue to shift rapidly. The RCGP always works to place the GP voice at the centre of decisions affecting the delivery of care and patient health. One of the ways in which we can do this is by running short-timescale ad-hoc surveys to ensure that we know the issues GPs are facing, and their extent.

We use the results to inform conversations we have with key Government and NHS decision-makers, to feed into policy statements and reports and to support our campaigns and communications. This page includes the topline results from those surveys.

Survey results

COVID-19

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