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Publication, Part of

General Practice Workforce, 31 December 2021

Official statistics

Current Chapter

General Practice Workforce, 31 December 2021

Methodological Change - re-introduction of fully-estimated records

We have introduced a significant methodological change in this release and revised the entire time series back to September 2015, which means that figures in this release differ from and supersede those previously published. 

In August 2021 (for the June 2021 publication) we revised the entire General Practice workforce time series back to September 2015, making several methodological changes to the way in which the workforce numbers are calculated.  

  • Fully-estimated records (where a practice has not provided any valid data for a staff group) - were removed. Partial estimates (where the practice provides a record for an identifiable individual but does not include information about their contracted or working hours) - were still made and included in outputs.  
  • Ad-hoc locums - were removed from the main tables as the move to monthly data extracts meant the headcount figures would not be comparable with previous quarterly collections and retaining them in the main tables would lead to an unavoidable break in the time series  
  • Zero hours contracts – where working or contracted hours were recorded in the reporting period, staff are now counted in both the FTE and headcount figures, where neither working hours or contracted hours are recorded, staff are not counted in either.  

Following stakeholder feedback regarding the impact removing the estimates may have had on the rate of the change in parts of workforce, NHS Digital committed to reviewing the removal of fully-estimated records. As a result of the findings of this review, estimates have been reinstated using an improved methodology, and the entire time series has been revised to include these estimates.   All other changes introduced in August 2021 remain in place. 

Please refer to the Methodological Review and Changes page of this publication for more information. 

All historical Individual-level CSVs since September 2015 and Practice-level CSVs for selected reporting periods have been reproduced with revised figures and included with this publication.  We plan to reproduce all relevant historical CSVs in summer 2022, to include the revised figures and remapped to represent the regional structure which is due to come into effect on 1 July 2022.

10 February 2022 09:30 AM

NHS Geography Updates

There have been changes to the NHS England and Improvement regional structure since this release. From 1st July 2022, Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) were established as statutory bodies replacing CCGs and STPs. From the General Practice Workforce, 31 July 2022 publication, data is instead aggregated to Sub-ICB Location, and ICB level. These geography updates also involved boundary changes, with some practices moving to different Sub-ICB Locations and ICBs than they would previously have been situated.

In order to have a consistent and comparable time series at regional level, all Individual and Practice-level CSVs were reproduced as part of the 31 July 2022 release, with practices and Sub-ICB Locations remapped to reflect this latest structure. National totals are unaffected by this remapping but some figures at Sub-ICB (previously CCG) and ICB (previously STP) levels may differ to those previously published.

The regional bulletin tables 6a, 6b, 7 and Annex C, and the Practice and Individual-level CSVs presented here reflect the old structure. Therefore, users are encouraged to use the remapped CSV files released with the 31 July 2022 publication for historical regional general practice workforce figures. The time series table Annex C in the 31 July 2022 bulletin file has also been remapped.

1 July 2022 00:00 AM


The General Practice Workforce series of Official Statistics presents a snapshot of the primary care general practice workforce. A snapshot statistic relates to the situation at a specific date, which for these workforce statistics is the last calendar day in the reporting period. Until July 2021, the snapshots were produced each quarter and were a record as of 31 March, 30 June, 30 September, and 31 December. However, we now collect and publish data on the general practice workforce on a monthly basis and the snapshot therefore relates to the last calendar day of each month, including weekends and public holidays. This monthly snapshot reflects the general practice workforce at 31 December 2021.

These statistics present full-time equivalent (FTE) and headcount figures by four staff groups, (GPs, Nurses, Direct Patient Care (DPC) and administrative staff), with breakdowns of individual job roles within these high-level groups.

For the purposes of NHS workforce statistics, we define full-time working to be 37.5 hours per week. Full-time equivalent is a standardised measure of the workload of an employed person. Using FTE, we can convert part-time and additional working hours into an equivalent number of full-time staff. For example, an individual working 37.5 hours would be classed as 1.0 FTE while a colleague working 30 hours would be 0.8 FTE.

The term “headcount” relates to distinct individuals, and as the same person may hold more than one role, care should be taken when interpreting headcount figures. Please refer to the Using this Publication section for information and guidance about the contents of this publication and how it can and cannot be used.

England-level time series figures for all job roles are available in the Excel bulletin tables back to September 2015 when this series of Official Statistics began. The Excel file also includes CCG-level FTE and headcount breakdowns for the current reporting period. This publication series also includes CSVs for selected reporting periods back to September 2015, containing practice-level summaries and CCG-level counts of individuals. Please refer to the Publication content, analysis, and release schedule in the Using this publication section for more details of what’s available.

In addition to the snapshot of the main general practice workforce, Annexes B and C in the Excel Bulletin tables include figures relating to the number of ad-hoc locum GPs working in general practice and information about their working hours. These figures used to be included in the main totals, but data relating to ad-hoc locum workforce is collected differently and these figures do not constitute a snapshot. As a result, because they are not directly comparable to the snapshot, we now report these figures separately rather than including them in the overall totals.

We are planning to introduce a quarterly publication to complement this monthly publication, which will bring together staff working in general practice, including ad-hoc locums, and those working in Primary Care Networks and potentially GPs working in other settings such as A&E streaming. The first experimental edition is likely to be released in Spring 2022 and include workforce data for all staff groups for September and December 2021.

We are continually working to improve our publications to ensure their contents are as useful and relevant as possible for our users. We welcome feedback from all users to [email protected].

NOTICE OF CORRECTION - 3 March 2022 Users should be aware of an error which appeared in Table 7 of the Excel Bulletin tables accompanying this publication. Two of the new CCGs introduced in 2021 had been ordered incorrectly in columns A and B, with knock-on effects on other CCGs within their respective STPs. This meant that the figures presented for the following six CCGs were misaligned and therefore incorrect.

D9Y0V NHS Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight CCG 10R NHS Portsmouth CCG

X2C4Y NHS Kirklees CCG 03R NHS Wakefield CCG 15F NHS Leeds CCG 36J NHS Bradford District CCG

This has now been rectified and the corrected data made available in the file under 'Resources' below.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused to users.

Key Facts

Full-Time Equivalent is a standardised measure of the workload of an employed person and allows for the total workforce workload to be expressed as the equivalent number of full-time staff. 1.0 FTE equates to full-time work of 37.5 hours per week, an FTE of 0.5 would equate to 18.75 hours per week


FTE GPs - 2.8% (990) more than December 2020 

Headcount 45,555 - 2% (874) more than December 2020 


FTE Fully qualified GPs (excludes GPs in Training Grade) - 0.7% (188) fewer than December 2020 

Headcount 37,269 - 0.4% (147) fewer than December 2020


FTE Qualified permanent GPs (excludes GPs in Training Grade and Locums) – 0.04% (9) more than December 2020 

Headcount 35,624 - 0.8% (294) more than December 2020 


FTE Nurses - 0.7% (115) fewer than December 2020

Headcount 23,420 - 1.6% (372) fewer than December 2020


FTE Direct patient care staff - 10.3% (1,392) more than December 2020 

Headcount 21,060 - 8.4% (1,631) more than December 2020 


FTE Admin / non-clinical staff - 3.6% (2,479) more than December 2020 

Headcount 99,261 - 2.4% (2,353) more than December 2020 

Last edited: 25 August 2022 2:00 pm