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The King's Fund responds to the latest statistics from NHS Digital on the general practice

Responding to the latest statistics from NHS Digital on the general practice workforce and general practice appointments, Beccy Baird, Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund said:

‘These stats reveal the high level of demand for general practice appointments, with 27.1 million appointments in December, more than two thirds of which were face to face. This increasing need for appointments reflects a population that is growing, ageing and living longer, often with complex health needs and multiple conditions, meaning people require more appointments with their GP practice to stay well. 
‘Despite the fact GPs are working harder than ever before to deliver these record numbers of appointments, many patients continue to face challenges accessing their GP when they need them.

‘These issues stem from chronic staff shortages, and new workforce data released today highlights the significant shortfall in GPs in England. In December 2022, 27,375 full-time equivalent qualified GPs were working in the NHS, 473 fewer than in December 2012. The data does offer some positive news, showing that more new GPs are being trained than ever before, but until they are fully qualified they won’t reduce the current pressures on general practice. 

‘There has been much debate about whether reforming the model of general practice would resolve this crisis. Regardless of the model, this latest data shows that the core issue is very high demand and too few GPs. Addressing this should be a priority for government if ministers want to make it easier for people to see their GP.’

Notes to editors

For further information, or to request an interview, please contact the Press and Public Affairs team on 020 7307 2585 (if calling out of hours, please ring 07584 146035).

The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.

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