GP workforce is shrinking, says NHS

Medical training places left unfilled as pressure mounts on general practice

There is a GP workforce crisis in England, says the NHS. In a report titled ‘Securing the Future GP Workforce’, it concludes that the crisis ‘must be addressed immediately’ and that ‘evidence is also emerging that the GP workforce is now shrinking rather than growing’.

This year’s census of GPs shows that there are 356 fewer than last year, and in  some regions, only 60 per cent of places for GP training were filled.

The problem is compounded by a growing number of trained GPs leaving the workforce. According to the General Medical Council, the number of GPs in England applying for paperwork to emigrate doubled from 266 in 2009 to 529 in 2013.

Labour’s shadow Health minister Jamie Reed said:

 “Patients struggle for appointments as the number of GPs falls under David Cameron. Medical students are put off by the intolerable pressure ministers have placed on general practice. While twice as many GPs are emigrating and 60 per cent are considering early retirement. 

“David Cameron scrapped Labour’s guarantee of a GP appointment within 48 hours and now a million people turn to A&E when they can’t see their GP – a root cause of the Tory A&E crisis. That’s why the next Labour government will invest an extra £2.5 billion a year to recruit 8,000 more GPs and 20,000 nurses.”

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.