The Department is unable to make an assessment on the trends in the number of general practitioners (GPs) retiring in each of the last 10 years.
The data in the following table shows the headcount and full-time equivalent for the number of GPs who joined or left the workforce between the beginning and the end of the specified period in 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18, as reported by GP practices in England to NHS Digital. The numbers exclude Registrars, Locums and GPs transferring between practices. This data should be treated with caution as it is incomplete. Data on the number of GPs leaving the profession is only available from September 2015.
NHS Digital define a workforce joiner as a GP who was recorded as working in a practice at the end of the specified time period, but not at its beginning. A workforce leaver is defined as a GP who was recorded as working in a GP practice at the beginning but not at the end of the specified time period. The number of leavers includes GPs who retired as well as those who left general practice for other reasons, such as to join a National Health Service organisation (non-GP practice).
The recording of leavers and joiners depends on accurate recording by the employing practice of a GP’s General Medical Council (GMC) number. Hence the data should be treated with caution, because a GP could be incorrectly recorded as joining or leaving the workforce if they move between practices and their GMC number is not correctly recorded by one or both practices.
The figures are experimental statistics and are based only on a cohort of GP practices that were open at both the beginning and end of the specified time period and supplied GMC Numbers for 100% of their relevant GP staff.
Number of GP practices supplying data
September 2015 to September 2016
5,663 practices (74.9% of all practices)
September 2016 to September 2017
6,323 practices (86.0% of all practices)
September 2017 to September 2018
5,914 practices (82.9% of all practices)
Source: NHS Digital General Practice Workforce, Final 31 March 2019, experimental statistics
Full time equivalent (FTE) refers to the proportion of full time contracted hours that the post holder is contracted to work. 1 would indicate they work a full set of hours (37.5), 0.5 that they worked half time. In Registrars' contracts 1 FTE = 40 hours. To ensure consistency, these FTEs have been converted to the standard wMDS measure of 1 FTE = 37.5 hours in the table.