Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters How to increase GP numbers

The NHS, not medical schools, is responsible for the crisis in GP recruitment

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 25 November 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6967
  1. Azeem Majeed, professor of primary care1
  1. 1Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Imperial College London, London W6 8RP, UK
  1. a.majeed{at}

In attacking medical schools, Wakeford is aiming at the wrong target.1 Medical schools could do more to promote general practice as a career for their graduates, but the current recruitment and workforce problems in NHS general practice in the UK are not caused by the actions of medical schools.

Newly qualified doctors are not applying for general practice training schemes and established GPs are retiring early because GPs’ working conditions have deteriorated substantially in recent years. The volume and complexity of their work has increased, and many general practices have seen large reductions in their practice budgets.2

The Department of Health and NHS England (and their equivalents in the devolved nations) are responsible for this, not medical schools. Medical schools do have a role in promoting primary care, but the current problems in UK primary care can be rectified only through a fairer funding mechanism for general practice in which both workload and population health needs are taken into account.3


Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6967


  • Competing interests: I am professor of primary care and head of the department of primary care and public health at Imperial College London. I am also a GP principal at the NHS general practice of Dr Curran and Partners.


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