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 have been produced each quarter and were a record as of 31 March, 30 June, 30 September, and 31 December. However, from July 2021, we are collecting and publishing data on the general practice workforce on a monthly basis and the snapshot will therefore relate to the last calendar day of each month, including weekends and public holidays.
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.
This is the first release to be based on the monthly collection of general practice workforce information and all figures presented are provisional and potentially subject to revision. As users are encouraged to make only year-on-year comparisons due to seasonality effects upon the workforce and no previous July workforce figures are available, only statistics relating to July 2021 are presented.
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.
The Excel file available with this release presents July 2021 figures only, including CCG-level FTE and headcount breakdowns. CSVs containing practice-level summaries and CCG-level counts of individuals are also available. Please refer to the Publication content, analysis, and release schedule in the Using this publication section for more details of what’s available.
England-level time series figures for all job roles back to September 2015 when this series of Official Statistics began are available in the Excel bulletin tables of the June 2021 release of this publication. The June 2021 release also includes the individual and practice-level CSVs back to September 2015.
In addition to the snapshot of the main general practice workforce, Annex B in the Excel Bulletin table includes 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 are now reporting these figures separately rather than including them in the overall totals.
In August 2021 we revised the entire time series back to September 2015, making several methodological changes to the way in which the workforce numbers are calculated. Please refer to the Methodological Change Notice in the June 2021 publication. Following stakeholder feedback and the move to monthly publications we will review the implementation of these changes, the impact on the timeseries and the length of time series included in each of these new monthly publications.
We are also planning to introduce a quarterly publication, to complement this new monthly publication, which will bring together the general practice workforce, including ad-hoc locums and the Primary Care Network workforce and will update on plans for this over the next few months.
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 PrimaryCareWorkforce@nhs.net.