GP numbers in first sustained drop for 50 years

Image copyright Getty Images

The NHS is seeing the first sustained fall in GP numbers in the UK for 50 years, the BBC can reveal.

An analysis by the Nuffield Trust for the BBC shows the number of GPs per 100,000 people has fallen from nearly 65 in 2014 to 60 last year.

The last time numbers fell like this was in the late 1960s and it comes at a time when the population is ageing and demands on GPs are rising.


Recommended For You

MailEngine - List Janitor Pro Yearly

Powerful email marketing system that improves your inboxing and increases your returns from email marketing

Video App Suite Turnkey Business Package

Video App Suite Turnkey Business Package

AffiliateNinjaPro Elite

A Cloud Based App That Creates INSTANT 1-Click Profitable Affiliate Funnels to Build You a HUGE List and Gets Targeted Traffic and Affiliate Commissions on 100% Autopilot.


Patient groups said it was causing real difficulties in making appointments.

There have been reports of waits of up to seven weeks for a routine appointment, while those needing urgent appointments have been forced to queue outside practices in the early morning to guarantee to be seen.

The pressures on GPs are being looked at by the BBC as part of a special day of coverage, including a Panorama investigation.

Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, president of the Royal College of GPs, said: “General practice cannot be allowed to fail. It is an absolute cornerstone of the NHS.”

NHS bosses maintain that steps are being taken to improve access, with more GPs being trained and extra support staff recruited to work alongside them.

GP numbers on their way down

The Nuffield Trust analysis looked at the number of GPs working in the NHS – both full and part-time – per 100,000 people across the UK.

It shows that during the late 1960s the numbers were falling, before four decades of almost continuous growth.

A peak of 66.5 was reached in 2009, before the increases tailed off.


Recommended For You

LeadFunnelCloud Pro

Get this Cloud Based App That Creates INSTANT Done-For-You UNLIMITED Profitable Lead Funnels To Build A HUGE List,Drive Targeted Social Traffic and Affiliate Commissions In Just 60 Seconds

Video App Suite Turnkey Business Package

New 8-in-1 Video App Suite

WP Dev Suite

Ready to cash-in on the latest software craze? Start selling your own software in less than 4 minutes from now… WP Dev Suite allows you to easily tap into the MASSIVE WordPress Market, with YOUR OWN hot-selling plugins - instantly, no experience needed.


There have now been four consecutive years of falls with the biggest drops being seen in England.

Wales and Scotland are down slightly, but Northern Ireland has seen a rise.

The fall in GPs from 64.9 per 100,000 to 60 per 100,000 means the average doctor now has 125 more patients to look after than they did in 2014.

The Nuffield Trust believes another 3,500 GPs would be needed to get the NHS back to where it was in 2014.

There are just over 42,000 working currently, down by nearly 1,500 in four years.

What does this mean for patients?

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media caption“You can’t get an appointment” – patients and staff at one GPs’ practice

Patients report it is getting more difficult to get an appointment.

The biggest survey of GP patients is carried out by Ipsos MORI for NHS England.

About 750,000 patients are surveyed each year.

While satisfaction ratings remain high, only two in three people needing an urgent appointment on the day are able to get one.

Kent is one of the areas with the worst problems.

The local patient network – Healthwatch Kent – has been investigating access to GPs.


Recommended For You

WP GDPR Fix Pro Unltd Sites Yearly

The GDPR Pro version provides you with enhanced protection. This version comes with a a GDPR ready privacy policy made by a consulting expert. All you have to do is just grab it and put it on your blog. Also get A GDPR compliant default Terms and Conditions

StockNation - Collection of 25,000+ HD stock videos searchable via category

Stocknation is a collection of amazing Searchable 25,000 Stock HD Videos.

Pixielogo Pro

Pixielogo Pro offers more templates, more icons and monthly templates free of charge to continue creating good looking logos for you and your clients.


Its chief executive Steve Illet said: “Patients have been reporting they are having to wait six or seven weeks for routine appointments. And even when they try to get an urgent one they can be forced to queue outside surgeries before they are open.

“It is a real problem. Some GP surgeries are really struggling to recruit the staff they need, particularly the smaller surgeries.”

Where are all the GPs going?

For a number of years the NHS was struggling to attract junior doctors to become GPs.

At one point, as many as one in 10 training places was going unfilled.

That has now been rectified – and the number of training places increased.

Last year, nearly 3,500 GP trainee posts were taken up in England, up by 800 since 2014.

This boost in numbers has yet to be fully felt as it takes at least three years to train a junior doctor to become a GP.

What is more, one in three junior doctors who accept places on GP training courses, drops out of the system, according to the Nuffield Trust.

Meanwhile, the numbers retiring early have been increasing.

Two-thirds of retirements by GPs come early – double the rate seen just five years ago.

The BMA said doctors were being asked to work longer and harder, without recognition or an increase in pay.

Dr Richard Vautrey, of the BMA, said workloads were now “unmanageable” for many.

It’s not safe – GP

Dr Carmel Boyham Irvine has worked at the North Road West Medical Centre in Plymouth for 26 years.

She has seen demand increase as the population ages with patients needing help and care for ever more complex conditions.

She now deals with 50 to 60 patients a day – either on the phone or in person.


Recommended For You

Zcode system - soccer prediction software

No guesswork, easy to use even if you have no clue about sports. Copy-paste winners!


ViraLightning Software

HQ Success-Kit Monthly

Start cashing in huge selling a HQ, New and updated IM training every month as your own.


She told BBC’s Panorama programme the situation was simply “not safe”.

She is one of two GP partners – senior doctors who are responsible for the practice.

They have been trying to recruit another partner for five years but have had no success.

During that time the size of the practice’s patient list has increased by 1,300 to 8,300.

“The sustainability of this particular practice is questionable,” she added.

How the NHS is tackling the issue

All parts of the UK said steps were being taken to address pressures on general practice.

As well as increasing training places, steps are also being taken to increase the number of health staff to work alongside GPs.

More than 20,000 extra physiotherapists, pharmacists, paramedics and support workers are being recruited to help see GP patients in England.

Dr Nikita Kanani, of NHS England, suggested this would help ease demand on GPs.

But she acknowledged the service was facing “significant pressure”.

Similar plans are being introduced in Scotland and Wales with a Welsh government spokesman saying the aim is to “transform” the way services are organised.

Panorama’s GPs, Why Can’t I Get An Appointment, is on BBC One at 19:30 BST on 8 May

Have you experienced problems or delays getting an appointment at your GP practice? Email

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

Or use the form below:

Related Topics

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

This post was curated & Posted using : RealSpecific

Thank you for taking the time to read our article.

Interested in building a blog or auto-blog like this one ? Or just want to order one ?  Join our "Blogging Tips Tricks and Resources Skype" Group and let's chat about it. 

Join "Blogging Tips Tricks and Resources Skype" HERE

Interested in Starting your own Roku TV Channel ? Or interested in learning how to build one ? Join our "Roku TV Channel Development" Skype Group and let's chat about it. 

Join "Roku TV Channel Development" HERE


If you enjoyed our content, we'd really appreciate some "love" with a share or two.

And ... Don't forget to have fun!



Video Builder

The first video builder WITH Text to Speech SYNC Technology

StockNation Business - 25,000 HD Premium Videos + Inbuilt Video Editor with Commercial Rights

Stocknation is a collection of amazing Searchable 25,000 Premium Stock HD Videos with an Inbuilt Video Editor

Create Studio Quality Videos in Minutes - Ultra-Fast Rendering Engine

Make Unlimited Videos for Personal Projects and Unlimited Videos for Clients

Leave a Reply