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Hancock praises ‘rise’ in GP numbers despite decline in FTE figures


By Lea Legraien
2 September 2019

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The health and social care secretary Matt Hancock has come under fire after praising an ‘increase’ in the number of GPs working in the NHS.

Statistics released yesterday by NHS Digital show that the number of full-time equivalent GPs – excluding registrars – has fallen by 576 over the past year, from 28,833 in June 2018 to 28,257 in June 2019.

Matt Hancock tweeted he was ‘delighted to see a rise in the number of doctors entering general practice across the country’, which prompted criticism from GPs.

According to the figures, the headcount of all GPs has increased by 2.7% in a year, which could explain the increase Mr Hancock was referring to.

Hundreds more GPs?

In a video posted yesterday on his Twitter account, Mr Hancock said there are now ‘hundreds more GPs’ in general practice.

He said: ‘GPs are the bedrock of the NHS, and I’m delighted at the figures this morning showing a rise in the number of GPs working in the NHS right across the country.

‘There’s hundreds more GPs, other health practitioners, so nurses and physios for instance, working in primary care, making sure that we get the service to the state it deserves to be.

‘There’s an awful lot more work to do, but we’re moving in the right direction.’

The full NHS people plan, due to come out after the Government’s spending review in September, is said to outline a ‘broader strategy’ for sustainable general practice.

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