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General Practice Workforce 31 October 2020Official statistics
- Publication Date:
- 3 Dec 2020
- Geographic Coverage:
- 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 31 Oct 2020
This is the first time we have published General Practice Workforce figures on a monthly rather than quarterly basis, and we are aware that some practices were not able to update their workforce information in time for the data extract. As a result, figures should be interpreted with caution. We have identified a particular shortfall in the data provided for GP locums for October 2020 and have estimated full time equivalent figures based upon the previous quarter's data. We are presenting only full time equivalent figures in this release while we develop a methodology to account for the missing headcount data.
We collected monthly data on the General Practice workforce for the first time in October 2020. Prior to this, the data collection was quarterly and took place at the end of March, June, September, and December.
This transition to a monthly data collection and reporting cycle will inevitably mean that practices will need to update their workforce data more frequently. In particular, this affects how they tell us about locum GPs working in their practices, as this part of the workforce is subject to more change than permanent staff.
We noticed that there were significantly fewer locum GP records in October's data extract than we expect. We are aware that fewer practices employed locum GPs in the first six months of 2020 because of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and a decrease in the number of face-to-face, telephone and video appointments that practices were able to offer during that time. However, we know that the number of appointments that took place during October was in line with expected levels for the time of year and we have good cause to believe that demand for locum staff has also been restored.
Mindful of the burden that GP practices currently face, and in consultation with our stakeholders, we have estimated for the missing locum records rather than asking practices to supply retrospective data. We are confident that the full-time equivalent (FTE) estimates are a reasonable reflection of capacity and the available resource at practice level. However, because of the nature of the locum workforce, it is more difficult to quantify how many individuals contribute to each FTE locum GP. In some cases, an FTE locum GP will be a single individual working full-time but in other cases, the FTE could constitute several locum GPs working one or more sessions each. As a result, estimating a headcount figure for locums is a complex undertaking and we are not confident that there is yet a reliable methodology to do so.
Therefore, we are not including headcount figures in this publication at this stage. We will explore options for a robust estimation model for missing locum GP records and will release headcount figures as soon as we are able to do so.
At the same time, we will work closely with our colleagues in NHS England to support GP practices at this challenging time and to improve the completeness and coverage of the general practice workforce data.
This means that there are fewer tables than usual in the Bulletin as we have withdrawn the majority of the headcount tables from this release. In addition, the Individual CSV is not currently available as this relies upon provided and estimated headcount data.
Published: 3 December 2020 00:00 AM
This report presents data about GPs, Nurses, Direct Patient Care and Admin/Non-Clinical staff working in General Practice in England, along with information on their patients and practices.
This series of statistics is now collected and published monthly. This is the first release to be published using the monthly data collection, and due to data completeness and coverage issues with the GP locum data, we are releasing full time equivalent figures only at this stage. We have calculated estimated FTE figures for GP locums and aim to devise a methodology to estimate the headcount figures as soon as possible.
This release includes full time equivalent figures in the Excel Bulletin, which includes time series figures as well as breakdowns by characteristics such as age and gender. Practice-level figures are available in the CSV.
Information on the next phase of changes will be detailed in future publications. We welcome feedback from all our users on these proposals, by email to: PrimaryCareWorkforce@nhs.net.
Information about the contents of this publication and how it can and cannot be used, can be found in the Report tab. Our publication includes information on recent and planned changes as well as highlighting future developments. We are continually working to improve our publication to ensure the components are as useful and relevant as possible for our users.
In the publication of data for 30 September 2019, released 28 November 2019, we implemented a range of improvements and revised the time back to September 2015 when these statistics were first published. As the new time series supersedes earlier figures, we have archived the original publications and advise you not to use them.
Links to other publications presenting healthcare workforce information can be found under Related Links.
Due to issues with the completeness of the GP locum data, headcount figures are not currently available. We have calculated estimates for FTE figures, but the methodology for estimating for missing locum headcount counts is still under development.
The effect of seasonality on general practice workforce trends, means that comparisons between different releases should only ever be made on a year-on-year basis. As this is the first release of these statistics covering October, these figures have no available direct comparison.
Comparisons with other months or quarters should not be made. Consequently no attempt to quantify percentage increases or decreases in FTE figures is made in this release.
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.
35,416 Full-time equivalent
28,007 Full-time equivalent
26,714 Full-time equivalent
16,682 Full-time equivalent
14,530 Full-time equivalent
68,638 Full-time equivalent