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New report sheds light on GP practice workforce

27 April 2016: New official figures published today detail all staff who provide health and care services within the GP practice workforce.

All figures are in Full Time Equivalent (FTE)3. Headcount and regional information are available for this report.

HSCIC must be quoted as the source of these figures.

The General and Personal Medical Services, England report 2005-2015, provisional, experimental is published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) and uses a new data source. Data are now collected directly from GP practices; previous analysis of GP workforce relied on collection of information through a census4.

The report shows that as at 30 September 2015 there were:

  •  34,100 FTE GPs5 (excluding locums) working within primary care in England compared to a provisional estimate of 34,700 in 20146. This is an estimated6 decrease of 1.9 per cent (657) since 2014.

    (Due to the increased accuracy of data now available on GP FTEs, the above figures are only presented for 20157., alongside provisional estimated FTE values for 2014, which have been derived to allow a year-on-year comparison.)
  •  There were 34,600 FTE GPs when including locums. This is the first time that this figure has been available as we did not previously collect data on locums.

The report also shows that as at 30 September 2015, in the GP practice workforce in England there were:

  •  15,400 FTE nursing staff, an increase of 2.2 per cent (336) since 2014.
  •  9,150 FTE direct patient care staff8, a decrease of 1.4 per cent (129) since 2014.
  •  63,700 FTE admin/non-clinical staff, 0.5 per cent fewer (328) than 2014.

Responsible Statistician Kate Bedford said: "The change in scope of the GP report will enable us to provide a valuable overall picture of the NHS primary care workforce, with more detail than before.

"With the additional data on all staff that provide services within GP practices at the time of the collection, it is hoped that this information will shed light on current staffing numbers across all job roles in practices, allowing for better workforce planning.

"As with all of our experimental statistics, we welcome input and views on the methodology. These will be taken into account and should any refinements be necessary these will be updated in the next publication currently scheduled for September 2016."

The report can be found at


Note to editors

1. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was established on April 1 2013 as an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (ENDPB). It is England's trusted data source, delivering high quality information and IT systems to drive better patient services, care and outcomes. Its work includes publishing more than 260 statistical publications annually; providing a range of specialist data services; managing informatics projects and programmes and developing and assuring national systems against appropriate contractual, clinical safety and information standards.

2. Counts of figures under 1,000 are exact and figures over 1,000 have been rounded to the nearest 10. Figures over 10,000 but less than 100,000 have been rounded to the nearest 100 and figures over 100,000 have been rounded to the nearest 1000. Figures over one million are rounded to the nearest 100,000. Percentages have been rounded to the nearest decimal point.

3. Full time equivalent (FTE) measures an individual's working hours as a proportion of their standard full time contract. This means that a person who worked 3.75 hours of a 37.5 hour contract would count as 0.1 FTE and somebody who worked 37.5 hours would count as 1.0 FTE.

4. Prior to 2015 figures are sourced from NHAIS GP Payments (Exeter) System. From 2015 figures are sourced from the workforce Minimum Dataset (wMDS) derived from the Primary Care Web Tool (PCWT). Within this tool GP practices can enter and save their workforce information.

5. Data on GPs excluding locums comprise GP Providers, Salaried/Other GPs, Registrars and Retainers

6. The FTE figures for 2014 include an estimate for GPs by using information of practices for which data has been received. More details about the estimation method are available in the publication.

7. The new data mean GP practices now inform us directly of the FTE of each staff member based on their hours. Previously collected FTE data are not comparable, so overall GP FTE figures are only presented for 2015.

8. Direct patient care includes anyone who is directly involved in delivering patient care within general practice but who is not a nurse or GP. This group includes Dispensers, Health Care Assistants, Phlebotomists, Pharmacists, Physiotherapists, Podiatrists, Therapists and Other.

9. For media enquiries please call 0300 30 33 888 or email

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