Government meet target 1 year early to recruit primary care staff
- Also published by:
- Department of Health and Social Care
The government has delivered on its’ commitment of recruiting 26,000 more primary care professionals – such as dieticians and paramedics – in GP practices.
- Over 26,000 more primary care professionals now working in GP practices since March 2019
- Government delivers key manifesto commitment to expand GP teams
- Wide range of healthcare professionals working alongside doctors and nurses delivering direct patient care as quickly as possible.
The government has delivered on its’ manifesto commitment of recruiting 26,000 additional primary care professionals – such as dieticians, paramedics and physiotherapists – who provide care directly to patients, or support doctors and nurses to do so.
A year ahead of the March 2024 pledge, data published today by NHS England shows there are 29,103 additional primary care staff helping to deliver on one of the government’s key priorities to cut waiting lists.
This means that since March 2019, there are 3 and a half times more people working in these roles – from 11,500 in 2019 to over 40,600 as of March – in GP practices working with doctors and nurses to deliver care to patients.
We are working to create many more appointments, with recent data showing there were almost two million more GP appointments delivered in March when compared to a year ago – that is 83,500 more appointments each working day.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
Expanding our brilliant primary care teams was a key promise of this government, and we have delivered. It is fantastic news we have achieved our target to recruit an extra 26,000 primary care professionals almost one year earlier than planned.
These dedicated professionals play a vital role at the front door of our NHS - supporting patients, delivering excellent care and helping to cut waiting lists.
Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said:
This government is focused on cutting waiting lists – which is one of our five priorities – and getting patients the care they need, when they need it.
We have delivered on our promise a year early to recruit 26,000 extra primary care professionals which means more clinicians delivering better, more specialised and accessible care to patients.
Building on the Primary Care Recovery Plan, we are determined to end the 8am scramble, improve technology and reduce bureaucracy.
Today’s milestone builds on the recently published Primary Care Recovery Plan which set out action to make it easier for patients to contact their GP and end the 8am rush. It included £240 million funding given to practices across the UK this year to embrace latest technology.
More broadly, there are record numbers of doctors and nurses working in the NHS helping to deliver extra appointments, speed up diagnoses and tackle the Covid backlog. Data also shows 440 more doctors working in general practice and face-to-face appointments on the rise.
Amanda Pritchard, NHS England Chief Executive, said:
It is fantastic to see more than 29,000 staff join our General Practice workforce since 2019, a year ahead of the Government target, following NHS recruitment campaigns with these new staff including mental health practitioners, social prescribers, and pharmacists offering people expert care and advice at their local practice.
Thanks to these new GP teams record numbers of appointments are being delivered, with the latest figures showing that more than 31 million appointments took place in March 2023 – up almost a third compared to pre-pandemic.
The increase in primary care staff has enabled Mitesh – a pharmacist working in GP surgeries - to deliver approximately 100 appointments a week, helping assist GP staff with medication queries and carrying out reviews of patients with long term health conditions and structured medicine reviews (SMRs), which help maximise the benefit of medication.
Some GP teams have expanded to include dedicated care coordinators like Gill, who works with voluntary and care home services to provide support to patients with a life-limiting conditions and release valuable time for GPs.
There are now thousands more care coordinators, working in general practices, ensuring all services are talking to each other about local, often frail and older patients and making sure there are no gaps in the support and care provided.
Care coordinators also offer patients more time so that GPs can see patients who are clinically unwell. With care coordinators, patients have the opportunity to go into more detail about their concerns, knowing that they will be raised with a GP if necessary.
Other examples of how better care has been provided include the recruitment of mental health practitioners in the North East and Yorkshire region which has meant increased access to mental health services closer to home for patients and a shorter waiting period. GP appointments are now freed up as patients do not have to repeatedly see a GP and patients are seen and treated by clinicians sooner.
- The quarterly figures published on 18 May are available here: Primary Care Workforce Quarterly Update, 31 March 2023, Experimental Statistics - NDRS (digital.nhs.uk)
- Read the Primary Care Recovery Plan here: NHS England » Delivery plan for recovering access to primary care
- NHS Workforce Statistics for February 2023 are published by NHS Digital: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/nhs-workforce-statistics/january-2023
- The latest monthly general practice workforce data is available here: General Practice Workforce, 31 March 2023 - NDRS (digital.nhs.uk)
- The latest GP appointment data is available here: Appointments in General Practice, March 2023 - NDRS (digital.nhs.uk)
Latest News from
Public asked to shape future use of health data by the NHS29/09/2023 14:05:00
Members of the public will be asked to help shape how the NHS uses their health data to improve patient care, as part a series of major events next year.
NHS publishes data following junior doctors and consultants strike27/09/2023 09:15:00
Data on last week’s industrial action by junior doctors and consultants is here: NHS England » Potential industrial action in the NHS
More than half a million people have made organ donations via NHS App26/09/2023 16:15:00
People across England are being encouraged to use the NHS App as an easy way to register their organ donation decision – as more than 7,000 patients actively wait for a transplant.
Visits to NHS website’s head lice advice page jump by a third in back-to-school spike25/09/2023 14:15:00
The number of people seeking advice on head lice and nits from the NHS website has increased by more than a third since the beginning of September.
NHS England statement on industrial action20/09/2023 14:25:00
NHS National Medical Director Professor Sir Stephen Powis said: “The NHS is set to experience the equivalent of five ‘Christmas Days’ in the next three weeks, where many routine services and appointments may not be delivered. While colleagues are working hard to ensure we keep patients safe and prioritise emergency and critical care, the collective impact of this on patients and staff cannot be overestimated.
NHS booking opens for life-saving Covid vaccinations19/09/2023 09:15:00
Millions of eligible people in England can now book their life-saving autumn Covid vaccine online as of yesterday (18 September) as the NHS steps up its winter vaccination programmes early in response to the risk of the new Covid variant.
NHS braced for unprecedented walkout as junior doctors and consultants take strike action18/09/2023 16:25:00
The NHS is preparing for a historic walkout which will affect almost all planned care as the first ever joint strike by consultants and junior doctors begins this week.
NHS delivering record number of tests and checks with more one-stop shops in local communities18/09/2023 11:15:00
The NHS has delivered a record number of potentially lifesaving tests and checks with over 25 million carried out in the last year, new data shows.