More fully trained GPs in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes than last year

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However last year saw the biggest fall in qualified GPs across the UK

More fully trained GPs are practising in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes than last year, new figures show, as pressures on NHS services mount following the coronavirus pandemic.

But England saw the biggest year-on-year fall in over three years in fully qualified GPs, despite the Government's 2019 manifesto pledge to recruit 6,000 more GPs by 2025.

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The British Medical Association trade union said the continued decline in fully trained GPs – which means there are now more than 1,900 full-time equivalent fewer doctors than in 2015 – is "alarming", and urged the Government to take the situation seriously.

The number of trainee GPs has increased across Beds and Milton KeynesThe number of trainee GPs has increased across Beds and Milton Keynes
The number of trainee GPs has increased across Beds and Milton Keynes

NHS Digital figures show there were 525 full-time equivalent GPs in the former NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes CCG area in November.

But of these, 121 were in training, meaning 404 were fully qualified – up from 400 a year earlier.

Nationally, there were 27,400 fully trained GPs in November – down from 27,900 in November 2021.

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The BMA said the "haemorrhage of GPs from practices in England is alarming".

Dr Kieran Sharrock, GP committee acting chair at BMA England, said: "Despite promises to recruit 5,000 – and then 6,000 – more GPs, the Government has now overseen the loss of the equivalent of more than 1,900 full-time fully qualified GPs in England since 2015."That almost a quarter of this loss happened in the last 12 months alone speaks volumes to the intense pressures that practices and staff are under."

Dr Sharrock said: "Rather than piling on more pressure, the Government needs to show it is taking this dire workforce situation seriously and encourage more family doctors to stay in the profession when our communities need them most.”

The total number of full-time equivalent GPs across the country rose by 1.2% from 36,200 to 36,600 in the 12 months to November.

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This was largely driven by a 10.8% rise in training GPs, from 8,300 to 9,200.

In Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes, the number of GPs in the training grade rose from 112 to 121.

The Department for Health and Social Care said it is "incredibly grateful" to GPs for their hard work and that at least £1.5 billion will be invested to create an additional 50 million doctors’ appointments by 2024.