The current series of Official Statistics relating to the general practice workforce has been produced since September 2015 when the workforce Minimum Data Set (wMDS) was introduced. The wMDS was a new dataset which was intended to provide more complete and higher quality data to support workforce planning, recruitment, and retention.
Prior to 2015, data about GPs was taken from the National Health Application and Infrastructure Services (NHAIS, also known as Exeter) General Practice Payments System. This was a computerised payment system for General Medical Practitioners in England and was the main source of General Practice and GP information, as it included person-level details such as name and date of birth for each GP. Additional information about individual GPs that was not recorded in NHAIS was supplied manually by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) via secure electronic data transfer.
Before we implemented the wMDS collection, information about Nurses, Direct Patient Care and administrative staff was far less detailed and was provided at a practice-level as aggregate summary figures by the applicable Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). Prior to 2010, aggregated General Practice staff information was collected at Primary Care Trust level and the completeness and coverage of these older returns is unclear.
We have been using the wMDS as the primary data source for our General Practice Workforce Official Statistics since September 2015. It is important to note that figures based upon wMDS are not comparable with earlier statistics that were calculated from a different data set.
Statistics relating to the general practice workforce produced using wMDS and the preceding data source are available.