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Primary Care Workforce in Alternative Settings - General Practitioners in the Covid Clinical Assessment Service

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We have provided information about the nature of the CCAS workforce which is defined here as any individual that was onboarded and worked at least one session between 28 March 2020 and 31 March 2021. As recruitment ceased in January 2021, these figures are applicable to the entire onboarded CCAS GP workforce.

One of the cohorts targeted for recruitment to CCAS were retired GPs. Slightly more than a third (35%) the CCAS GP workforce was aged 60 or above, although some of these were still active in the NHS GP workforce. However, when considering the age profile of the workforce by gender, it is noteworthy that more than half the male GPs were aged 60 or older compared to a fifth of female GPs.

(Note that eight GPs were of unknown age)

More than 60% of the CCAS GP workforce was female. Recently, women have begun to outnumber men slightly in the general practice-based GP workforce, primarily due to increasing numbers of younger women joining the GP workforce. Within general practice, it is known that a higher percentage of female GPs work part-time than their male counterparts, which may mean that more female GPs had the capacity to work increased hours during the COVID-19 crisis. 

(Note that nine GPs had no gender specified) 

A review of the ethnicity of the CCAS GP workforce where available (ethnicity was unknown or not stated for 421 of the 1,479 GPs) found that the breakdown was generally consistent with the ethnic profile of GPs based in general practices as can be seen in the General Practice Workforce statistics available at

Not all GPs working for CCAS were retirees returning to the NHS for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. We identified some GPs in this CCAS cohort as being active elsewhere in the NHS at the same time as they were working for CCAS. For example, 581 were already working in general practices and continued to work in their practices, delivering substituted or additional hours for CCAS. In these cases, it is possible that working hours were also reported in the General Practice Workforce statistics.  114 other GPs were also based in hospitals, such as within A&E departments, while 406 GPs working for CCAS can also be seen to have been working in other community-based settings such as walk-in centres, out-of-hours services or other specialist provision. Furthermore, with increasing trends of GPs adopting portfolio working, for example working some days in general practice and some in a hospital setting, it is possible that some GPs worked in more than one of these other bases as well as for the CCAS service.

GPs used the rostering system to register their availability to work sessions in four-hour increments. Not all GPs had the capacity to work large numbers of sessions, and in some cases, GPs were available to work numerous sessions, but demand meant they were not allocated these sessions. On average, the majority of GPs worked relatively few hours each quarter. For example, almost a third worked 40 or fewer hours for CCAS between late March 2020 and March 2021. Conversely, around a fifth of GPs worked 320 hours or more.

Last edited: 16 June 2021 12:28 pm