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

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) discuss the alarming trend in the amount of GPs in general practice

This is an edited version of an article first published by the RCGP.

Responding to the latest NHS Digital data on GP workforce professor Martin Marshall, chair of the RCGP, 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.”

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