Five facts about the GP workforce

Authors: Abi Rimmer 

Publication date:  02 Feb 2017

Data from NHS Digital show that the number of full time GPs in England fell last year, despite government promises to expand the workforce by 5000 by 2020[1]

Full time equivalents

There were 34 495 full time equivalent GPs in September 2016, down from 34 592 a year earlier (a drop of 0.3%).

Overall headcount

Between September 2015 and September 2016 the overall GP headcount fell by 12 from 41 877 to 41 865.


The number of locums reported working in general practice in September 2016 was 1561, the equivalent of 692 full time GPs.


Just over half (57%) of GPs were partners, 26% were salaried GPs, and 13% were GP registrars. The remaining 4% were GP locums.

Regional variation

The proportion of GPs who are partners varied across the country, from 41% in parts of London to 65% in Wessex.


  1. Wise J. Full time GP workforce fell by nearly 100 last year. BMJ  2017;356:j468. [Link]   [Link] .

Abi Rimmer BMJ Careers

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