GP Recruitment crisis 2017



and retention crisis is



GP recruitment Crisis 2017 onwards


There are not enough medical students going into general practice, those who are there are leaving add the the pressure on those remaining.

In 2017

There was a 10% shortfall in medical students going into general practice. At the same time, 54% of GPs over the age of 50 are considering retiring.

Resulting in

High vacancy rates, with 13% of practices having a 25% increase in Locum costs. 85% of GPs feel the profession is in crisis.

In fact, GP The challenges with general practice recruitment and retention are nothing new. As an illustration, look at the above data from 2017. There were over 300 million consultations a year in general practice, compared to 31 million in the rest of the NHS. Basically if you think of demand as water and general practice as a dam, then we’re starting to see cracks!

GP recruitment is important because general practice is the bedrock of the NHS, being responsible for over 300 million appointments, (and over 90% of all appointments in the NHS). One of the reasons that the NHS model works so well when compared to other countries is the professionalism and role of primary care which is a cost-effective way of delivering care and supporting health inequalities. This involves not only the management of acute illness but also increasingly chronic disease management in the community and health prevention work such as childhood immunisations.

A solution?

Sadly, there is no obvious one for GP recruitment, even when looking at more recent data from 2022. In fact, the COVID pandemic and cost of living crisis has added to the pressures on general practice and had a knock on negative impact on recruitment and retention.

We need to understand the reasons behind this and test ways to improve the recruitment and retention of gps. We share our practice experiences and thoughts on this website.

This is data from 2017 using Health Education England workforce data. There is a lead time of approximately 10 years from going to medical school to becoming a GP. Approximately 5-6 years of university and 5 years of post-graduate training. There are more people leaving the profession and 54% of GPs are considering leaving in the near future. GP recruitment is in crisis.

Those who remain in post are under pressure where 85% of the workforce feel the workforce is in crisis and 36% want to reduce their clinical commitments.

Things haven’t really changed much since

The challenges in general practice have continued, as outlined in this BBC interview in 2019.

Currently, recruitment and retention is a huge problem in the NHS. The vacancy rate is at an all time high at 130k posts or 10% of the workforce. The current strikes are likely to have a negative impact waiting list, however, that has not yet materialised yet.

However, there are more clinicians. In hospitals there are  21% more doctors and 16% more nurses than 5 years ago. In primary care (general practice) a target to reach 26,000 has been reached (that target includes non-clinical staff). Click below to learn more about physician associates and clinical pharmacists, which are a welcome addition to our practice.

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