Fears GP shortage is having ‘terrible human cost’ as new figures show the number of areas with more than 2,000 patients per GP has almost DOUBLED in seven years
- 92 health districts in England have over 2,000 patients per fully qualified GP
- Patients face longer waits for appointments and a weaker bond with their doctor
The number of areas with more than 2,000 patients per GP has almost doubled over six years, analysis reveals.
Some 92 of 106 health districts in England now have more than 2,000 patients per fully qualified GP – up 80 per cent from 51 areas in 2016.
On average across England, there are now 2,273 patients per fully qualified GP – an increase from 1,981 in 2016. The rise means patients face longer waits for appointments, and experience a weaker bond with their doctor.
It comes as the number of registered patients at GP practices rose by 7 per cent to 62 million, while the number of fully qualified GPs fell 7 per cent to 27,375.
South Tyneside saw the sharpest increase – up 42 per cent since 2016 – in patients per GP. Then came Preston (36 per cent), Cannock Chase in Staffordshire (34), Stoke-on-Trent (33) and North Cumbria (32).
The number of areas with more than 2,000 patients per GP has almost doubled over six years
The numbers come from analysis of NHS figures by the House of Commons Library on behalf of the Liberal Democrats.
Daisy Cooper MP, the party’s health spokesman, wants the NHS to recruit 8,000 new GPs and patients to be given the legal right to see a family doctor within seven days, or within 24 hours if urgent.
She added: ‘This shortage is having a terrible human cost, as people face delayed or missed diagnoses and A&Es fill up.’
Professor Kamila Hawthorne, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said: ‘These figures highlight how hard GP teams are working to deliver high-quality and complex care, despite being insufficiently resourced and understaffed.’
An NHS spokesman said: ‘We are working to deliver the right numbers of staff with the right skills to meet changing needs’
A Department of Health spokesman said the number of GPs has grown if trainees are included.
He added that a recruitment scheme had secured 550 training places in 2021 and 800 last year.
Daisy Cooper MP, the party’s health spokesman, wants the NHS to recruit 8,000 new GPs