Calls for rapid expansion of GP workforce as patient numbers rise

The average number of GP patients at practices in Northumberland is rising, figures show.

Friday, 20th August 2021, 10:55 am
The British Medical Association has said a rapid expansion of the GP workforce across England is needed.

The British Medical Association said a rapid expansion of the GP workforce across England is needed, as the number of patients per practice hit a new national record.

NHS Digital figures show 332,090 patients were registered at the 38 GP practices in the NHS Northumberland CCG area, as of the end of June.

This meant each GP team was dealing with an average of 8,739 patients each – up from 8,023 in June 2020.

The number of patients in Northumberland increased by 3,166 over this time, while there were three less practices.

Richard Vautrey, chairman of the BMA’s GP committee, said: “The differences seen throughout England reflect the overall workforce crisis, which has been troubling for over a decade now.

"Numbers of GPs are falling while demand rises, leaving us with a severe shortage.

"With a growing and ageing population, only a medical workforce expansion will give us hope that we can offer good quality care to everyone in the future.”

He urged the Government to rapidly grow the medical workforce by at least 31%.

The Department of Health and Social Care said the new Office for Health Promotion will "level up the health of the nation" and close disparities.

A spokeswoman added: “We have invested £270million to expand GP capacity, on top of the £1.5billion for extra staff until 2023-24.

“The highest ever number of doctors accepted a place on GP specialty training in 2020 and we are committed to increasing the number of training places available to 4,000 a year, as well as targeting recruitment in hard-to-recruit areas."