Does Scotland have even more GPs than we are being told?

The BBC presenting a BMA Union scare uncritically does not look at actual data.

According to the Nuffield Trust, in 2018, the number of GPs per 100 000 population was:

Scotland 76

N Ireland 67

Wales 63

England 58

UK average 60.

In 2019, the BBC repeated the same figures.

As of 30 September, Public Health Scotland reported gradually increasing numbers from 2015, to 5 134 in 2021, including ‘trainees’.

With a little trepidation I redo the calculations.

Scotland’s 5 440 000 population can be represented as 54.4 sets of 100 000. So 5 134 divided by 54.4 gives 94.3 GPs per 100 000, way above the 76 calculated by Nuffield. If you take out the trainees, though they are working with patients, you get 4 518 and still 83 fully-trained GPs per 100 000.

In England there are 45 681 registered GPs including trainees and 37 138 fully-trained GPs for a population of 55 980 000 or 559 sets of 100 000. So 45 681 divided by 559.8 gives 81.6 GPs per 100 000 and 37 138 gives 66.3.

So, Scotland has 26% more fully-trained GPs

Note, neither set of data takes account of part-time working.


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8 thoughts on “Does Scotland have even more GPs than we are being told?

  1. Report from GPs Association 46.3 qualified FTE GPs in England /100k patients.GPs per patient down 10% in just five years, NHS data reveal

    | | | | | |


    | | | | GPs per patient down 10% in just five years, NHS data reveal

    The number of fully-qualified, full-time equivalent (FTE) GPs per patient in England has dropped by 10% over the… |



    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wonder if the data takes account of recent retrials? My own GP said that several GPS of his acquaintance are due to retire or have retired. My daughter is a GP and says the same. Until updated data is revealed maybe not as many as we would like.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. BBC Hootsmon has dozens of GP’s on Repressing Scotland, nightly—many of them called Gulhane.
    The Herod has loads of Dr’s in its letters page—though most of them are NOT medical doctors, but push voodoo political theories, straight from “These Islands” Little Book of Bullsh!t!.

    It is thought that GP’s may be hiding out in surgeries all over the country, but Scully and Mulder cannot confirm this.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. The number of GPs retiring in England seems to be at least one factor in the failure of Westminster to meet Tory manifesto commitments regarding overall GP numbers.

    The Guardian reported (2 November, 2021): ‘No 10 is likely to break its promise to increase the number of GPs in England by 6,000, Sajid Javid has admitted. The health secretary disclosed that the figure, a key promise in the Conservatives’ general election manifesto in 2019, was unlikely to be met given the number of GPs retiring early.’

    In the same article Dr Richard Vautrey, the chair of the BMA trade union’s GPs committee is reported stating: ‘The latest workforce figures for England show that we have LOST the equivalent of more than 1,800 full-time, fully qualified GPs since 2015, DESPITE PLEDGES TO INCREASE numbers by 6,000”. (my emphasis)

    What of Scotland?

    Source: Public Health Scotland (26 December 2021) ‘General Practice Workforce Survey 2019’

    The above reports that there were 5,134 GPs (head count) working in General Practices in Scotland at 30 September 2020. This is an increase of 89 compared to 2019. The number of GPs had remained roughly constant at around 4,900 between 2010 and 2017 before slight increases in recent years.

    On Whole Time Equivalents, the same PHS report states: ‘The estimated GP (excluding Specialist Trainees) WTE increased from estimated 3,520 in 2017 to 3,613 in 2019, an increase of just under 3%.’ This followed a very small decreases in estimated WTE between 2013 and 2017.

    So a quite different picture in Scotland from that for GP numbers in England over the same period! Which government ALWAYS has ALL the fiscal and monetary policy levers, ALL the powers to determine the level of financial resourcing it wishes to provide to its national health system?

    Arguably, due to the re-organisation of GP practices it is relevant also to examine the level of resourcing in Scotland with other health care professionals. For example the above report notes: ‘.. the estimated number of nurses (in General Practices) increased by 16% between 2013 and 2019 (from 2,125 to 2,465), and the estimated WTE increased by 19% (from 1,420 to 1,690) in the same period.’

    Other aspects of the GP workforce in Scotland may be of interest

    Source: Public Health Scotland (26 January 2021) General Practice
    GP workforce and practice list sizes 2010 – 2020.

    The above reports that of the 5,134 GPs in Scotland by head count (at September, 2020) c.1,600 are over 50 years old and c.1,700 are under 40 years old. The big difference is the split by sex: in the older group the split is almost equal; in the younger group there are twice as many women as men.

    The December 2021 report from PHS notes that between 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019: “.. the largest estimated numbers of absent (essentially ones not provided as planned) GP sessions were due to Maternity Leave and Sick leave, with an estimate of 33,483 absent GP sessions due to Maternity Leave, and an estimate of 29,967 absent GP sessions due to Sick Leave.’

    Liked by 1 person

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