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Publication, Part of

General Practice Workforce - 31 March 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 31 Mar 2020

March 2020 Data Quality

This release of the General Practice Workforce Official Statistics has been affected by several significant events which have had – or will have – an effect upon the figures both now and in the longer term.

COVID-19

As outlined on the main page, we believe the data completeness and coverage has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as the exceptional pressures on the general practice workforce meant not all practices were able to update their NWRS data in time for the extract on 31 March.

​​​​​​​CCG Changes

From 1 April 2020, there were some CCG and STP changes. More information is available about these changes from our website at https://digital.nhs.uk/services/organisation-data-service/change-summary---stp-reconfiguration.

To ensure that our statistics remain useful for their intended purpose, the figures in this publication use the new geographical structure which means the statistics relate to the structure now, rather than the structure prior to 31 March.

Primary Care Networks (PCNs)

Since July 2019, all GP practices in England have had the opportunity to join one of around 1250 Primary Care Network and the vast majority have taken the opportunity to do so. PCN member organisations, which include GP practices, and other health, social care, mental health, and voluntary sector providers, will deliver accessible and integrated care to local communities.

Information about PCNs, the GP practice members and the relationships to CCGs are available from the Organisation Data Service (ODS) (https://digital.nhs.uk/services/organisation-data-service/primary-care-networks---publication-of-organisational-data-service-ods-codes) which receives monthly updates about PCNs and their member organisations.

These PCNs have their own distinct direct patient care workforces and data relating to these staff was collected for the first time on 31 March 2020. There is a helpful overview of PCNs and a new series of experimental statistics at https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/primary-care-network-workforce.

It is possible that some individuals previously working in a GP practice may transfer some or all of their working hours to their new PCNs. In particular:

  • All PCNs are required to have a suitably qualified accountable person to act as the clinical director. This post is usually filled by a GP, nurse or another direct care professional and typically requires a commitment of 0.25 FTE. It is therefore possible that FTE counts of staff in these job roles will decrease in the general practice workforce statistics as some of their working hours are transferred to the PCNs.
    • PCNs do not employ GPs or nurses to deliver patient care, only in the capacity of clinical directors
  • It is likely that over the coming months we will see a decrease in the number of clinical pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in the general practice workforce statistics as some or all of their working hours are transferred to their local PCN.
  • There may also be decreases in the FTE counts for some other roles such as administrative staff and other direct patient care professionals if they begin to work full or part-time for the PCN.
  • We are working closely with data providers to ensure that the reported hours of staff working on both general practices and PCNs are recorded correctly to prevent double counting.

We have included information about each GP practice’s PCN in the practice level CSV file. When considering these general practice statistics by PCN, please take note of the following points:

  • Aggregating from GP practice to PCN to CCG will not replicate the CCG figures
    • This is because we estimate for missing records at CCG level but not at a lower level meaning the CCG totals would be higher than the sum of the PCN figures
    • Because membership of a PCN is not mandatory, some practices have chosen not to join a PCN and information about their workforces will not be included in any PCN totals
    • While PCN boundaries are generally expected to align with CCG boundaries there are some exceptions, notably where effective and successful cross-CCG collaborative working was already in place. In this instance, a responsible CCG is identified for PCN-data reporting purposes even if some GP practice members belong to a different CCG.
    • The PCN structure is not static. Some PCNs have already closed while others have opened since 31 March. Similarly, some GP practices have changed their PCN membership – a few several times – since the PCNs were first formed in July 2019, and some GP practices that were originally PCN members have left the local PCN but not joined another.
      • We have no plans to retrospectively re-map PCN membership in the practice-level CSVs as practice membership changes.
Last edited: 27 May 2020 3:18 pm