Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations Health Policy

NHS workforce: latest data are shocking but no surprise

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: (Published 15 May 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l2209
  1. Andy Cowper, editor, Health Policy Insight, London, UK
  1. andycowper{at}

And a leaked copy of forthcoming strategy seems to offer wet proposals

The latest news about current numbers in the NHS medical workforce is at once deeply shocking and highly unsurprising.

The Nuffield Trust has found that the number of GPs relative to the size of the UK population has fallen in a sustained way for the first time since the 1960s.1 The think tank’s analysts conclude that this fall in the number of GPs per person reflects insufficient numbers previously being trained and going on to join the NHS, a failure to recruit enough from abroad, and more GPs retiring early. They also show that the NHS workforce in England has a vacancy rate of around 8% or one in 12 full time equivalent posts.2

Despite the government’s 2016 ambition to deliver 5000 more GPs by 2020, recent data show a fall in the number of full time equivalent NHS GPs …

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