Sally Warren, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund commented on new GP workforce figures and NHS vacancy data from NHS Digital
'The volume and intensity of GP workloads is driving many to either reduce their hours or leave the profession altogether. While more GPs than ever are being trained, these figures show that GP numbers continue to decrease, with a 2 per cent drop in the number of permanent, full-time equivalent GPs in the past year and 6.2 per cent fewer in September 2019 than in 2015.
‘All the major political parties have made eye-catching pledges to improve access to GP appointments by increasing the number of GPs, but the solution is not straightforward. Success will hinge not just on the ability to recruit and – more importantly – retain enough GPs, but also to bring in professionals such as physiotherapists and pharmacists. Equally important is investment in technology to develop models of digital care, in GP premises and to implement effective team-based models of care.
'Across the country, health and care services are grappling with severe staff shortages. Latest workforce data shows there are currently more than 105,000 vacancies in NHS trusts, plus 122,000 vacancies in social care at any one time. If the next government wants to deliver on promises to improve health and care services for patients and the public, they must first tackle the workforce crisis.'