The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has called for 5,000 GPs to be trained each year to meet current workforce targets and safeguard patient care, and this figure is considerably more than the 3,500 that are trained annually now.
The RCGP has also urged Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rishi Sunak, to use the Spending Review to boost the budget for education and training of GPs and other healthcare professionals by at least 3.6 per cent, which would equate to an immediate increase of £160 million.
However, the increase in numbers could be problematic as the latest figures from NHS Digital show that the number of fully qualified, full-time equivalent GPs fell by 576 in the year from June 2018 to June 2019.
According to the RCGP, NHS England’s interim people plan, which was published earlier this year, promised incentives to boost the GP workforce and set out “laudable aspirations”, but offered insufficient funding.
As a spokeswoman for the College pointed out, more must be done to retain the GPs currently in post. She added that boosting the local funding for GP retainer schemes by an additional £72 million could prevent much-needed experienced GPs from leaving general practice.
However, according to a spokesperson for the DHSC, there is a record number of GP trainees, and this is expected to continue this year. Moreover, the NHS People Plan, which will be published later this year, will set out the Government’s plans for securing the staff needed for the future, including for primary care.
Rod Cadwallader, General Practice Partner at Milsted Langdon, said: “The RCGP has highlighted some key areas of concern for the healthcare sector. The number of GP’s is an ongoing issue.
“For advice on matters relating to the healthcare sector, contact our expert team today.”