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Publication, Part of

General Practice Workforce - 30 June 2020

Official statistics
Publication Date:
Geographic Coverage:
England
Geographical Granularity:
GP practices, Clinical Commissioning Groups, Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships, Regional health body, Regions, Health Education England Region, Primary Care Organisations
Date Range:
30 Sep 2015 to 30 Jun 2020

Notice of Changes

Changes to Detailed and Supplementary Tables, and Practice-level CSV

We are continually working to improve our publication to ensure the components are as useful and relevant as possible for our users. Currently, we are reviewing the contents of the General Practice Workforce series, to rationalise the content of the files produced and identify areas for improvement. We have discussed a range of improvements with our stakeholders which will be implemented incrementally over forthcoming releases. At each stage, we will announce our proposals in advance and give you the opportunity to provide feedback.

In May, we published our proposals for the first changes which are included in this publication. This means that we are focusing on producing consistent and standard Bulletin Tables for all reporting periods which will form the core of each publication. These new tables replace the previous spreadsheets published for March and September data, and the four high-level staff group tables that we used to publish for June and December. This means that the same content will be included in the main Bulletin Tables for every release.

A further set of proposed changes will focus on the “additional tables” that are currently published biannually alongside the March and September data and provide a more detailed breakdown of regional figures as well as some supplementary tables of experimental statistics.  These Detailed and Supplementary tables will continue to be produced twice each year but will be streamlined to focus on the most valuable content.

For the detailed tables (see a recent example here), the changes taking place are as follows:

  • We will rename these tables from “Detailed Tables” to “Regional Tables” which better describes their content.
  • We will reduce the number of files from three to one. This follows the merger on 1st April 2020 of the NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) Regions with the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) structures, which means a single file can be produced rather than one each for the formerly separate structures. The third file for Health Education England (HEE) Regions will be removed due to feedback that these tables are not of benefit to users, who focus on the NHSEI and STP structure.
  • Within this Regional file, there will also be a reduction in the number of tables produced where we have identified that the figures can be obtained from the Individual-level CSV. This will enable users to produce more flexible combinations of categories than the static tables we used to provide.
    This applies to the tables reporting full-time equivalent (FTE) and headcount figures by Gender, Age band, and (for GPs only) Country of Primary Medical Qualification, and in lieu of these tables we will provide an interactive file containing a pre-set pivoted table based upon the Individual-level CSV to which we will add a new age band column, and which you will be able to manipulate as required. We will also provide detailed guidance to help you.
  • The Regional file will therefore contain the following tables:
    • headcount figures for Work commitment (FTE) breakdowns for all four staff groups
    • figures for patients registered at practices (by age band) and the ratios of staff FTEs per 100,000 registered patient for the four staff groups and for these additional groupings: Clinical Staff (GPs, Nurses and DPC staff), All Fully Qualified GPs (excludes Registrars), All Regular GPs (excludes Locums) and All Qualified Permanent GPs (excludes Registrars & Locums). The FTE and registered patient ratios will replace previous ratios which used headcount and Office of National Statistics (ONS) total population figures, because feedback has made it clear that the patient-based ratios are of most benefit to users. These will also align with those used in the new Bulletin Tables.

For the Supplementary tables (see a recent example here), the changes taking place are as follows:

  • We will rename these tables from “Supplementary Information Tables” to “Experimental Tables”.
  • This file will no longer include Ethnicity tables which we now include in the main Bulletin Tables.
  • We will continue to publish tables of FTE and headcount Joiner and Leaver figures for All Qualified Permanent GPs (excludes Registrars & Locums), with a focus on the year-on-year (annual) tables.
  • However, due to the low levels of completion and poor data quality, we are suspending the tables on Staff Movement, Staff Absences, and Staff Vacancies. The quality problems have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 Coronavirus crisis, but are a long-term issue that notably undermined the usefulness of the data. We will review the way the data is collected, continue to monitor the quality of this data, and give consideration to whether reporting on these subjects can be reintroduced in the future. We will also review whether the General Practice Workforce collection tool (the National Workforce Reporting System) is the most appropriate tool for collecting data on the General Practice Workforce’s absences and vacancies.

We have also proposed two changes to data fields in the Practice-level CSV (see a recent example here) which will also be reflected in the Power BI dashboard:

  • Two columns of contextual practice information will no longer be included in the file: the number of dispensing patients registered at a practice (TOTAL_DISP_PATIENTS) and the practice’s contract type (CONTRACT).
  • The GP Practice Contract Type chart in the Power BI report will no longer be updated with this information and will be removed.

In both the Regional (Detailed) and Experimental (Supplementary) tables, we will publish the FTE tables before headcount tables which aligns with the table order in the new Bulletin Tables.  In addition, where separate tables were previously produced for each of the four staff groups these will now be released in a single table.

The changes outlined do not address the tables on Clinical Directors recorded against practices. We have continued to report figures for individuals coded as Clinical Directors that are still in the practice data set. However, this is a data quality issue and we expect it to be resolved and the tables to be withdrawn once all Clinical Directors have been correctly moved to their host PCN.

We welcome feedback from all our users on these changes and ask that you provide any feedback by the end of Thursday 24 September 2020 to enable it to be incorporated into this second stage of the publication changes. We are also happy to provide more detail on the above where requested. You can get in touch with us at PrimaryCareWorkforce@nhs.net and please include "GP Workforce publication review" in the subject line of your email.

The final stage of our review will consider the CSV files, and any feedback you can provide on which of their data items (columns) you find useful or superfluous would be appreciated. In addition, we will be reviewing the CSV file names and welcome suggestions to help us clarify their contents.  

Last edited: 24 August 2020 11:18 am