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Two thirds of patients in general practice don’t need to see a doctor, report says

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: (Published 12 April 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2082
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. London

Only a third of people in England who go to a general practice should be seen by a doctor, says a report published by the public services think tank Reform.1

GPs currently take around two thirds of the 372 million appointments at GP surgeries every year, but GPs and other experts interviewed for the research said that around half of these appointments could be taken by nurses and other clinicians.

Reform has recommended that the UK government abandon its target to recruit an additional 5000 GPs by 2020, because it “is an inefficient allocation of NHS resource.”

It explained that the composition of the clinical workforce had shifted towards more GPs in recent years, with the number of GPs increasing between 2004 and 2014 at a faster rate (by 15%) than the number of practice nurses (by 11%). The report estimated that if nurses took …

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