• In 2021/2022 there was an estimated shortage of around 4,200 full-time equivalent (FTE) fully qualified, permanently employed GPs in England, with around 27,000 FTE GPs in post in 2021/22.
  • Under current policy, the shortfall is projected to rise to around 8,800 FTE GPs in 2030/31, relative to the number needed to meet the rising need for care.
  • This would mean close to 1 in 4 of the estimated 37,800 FTE general practitioner posts needed to deliver pre-pandemic standards of care would be vacant.
  • In a pessimistic policy scenario, this shortfall could reach around 18,900 FTE GPs in 2030/31, or nearly 1 in 2 FTE GP posts.
  • However, in an optimistic scenario, the shortfall could be limited to 1,200 GPs (around 3% of projected GP posts) by 2030/31. This would require the government to put in place policies to improve the recruitment and retention of GPs and general practice nurses (also projected to be in short supply in all scenarios). Further, it assumes increased policy action to support more allied health professionals (such as pharmacists and physiotherapists) being effectively integrated into multidisciplinary practice teams to alleviate workload pressures on GPs and practice nurses.

Projections from the Health Foundation’s REAL Centre show that the shortage of qualified, permanent GPs is set to get substantially worse over this decade. Our data estimate the shortfall of GPs in 2023/24, at the end of the current parliament, as well as in the longer term to 2030/31.

We have projected the supply of patient care staff in general practice (GPs, general practice nurses and other patient care roles) under three different policies: the current policy scenario, an optimistic and a pessimistic policy scenario.

Explore our projections of the GP workforce across the next decade below.

In 2021/2022 there was a shortage of around 4,200 full time equivalent (FTE) fully qualified, permanently employed GPs in England.

Under current policy, this is projected to rise to around 6,700 FTE GPs in 2023/24 – the end of the current parliament.

And by 2030/31, it could reach 8,800 FTE GPs.

This means that without a change to current workforce trends and policies, more than 1 in 4 of the estimated 37,800 FTE GP posts needed to deliver pre-pandemic standards of care would be vacant.  

Different levels of policy action will affect how large this shortfall is.

An optimistic scenario would involve government putting in place policies to improve recruitment and retention of GPs, as well as effectively integrating allied healthcare professionals in multidisciplinary general practice teams.

In this scenario the shortfall would be around 1,200 FTE GPs in 2030/31. This means around 3% of the GP posts needed to deliver pre-pandemic standards of care would be vacant. 

But in a pessimistic scenario, the shortfall could reach around 18,900 FTE GPs in 2030/31. This means around half of the GP posts needed to deliver pre-pandemic standards of care would be vacant.  

Our GP workforce supply and demand projections have been calculated under three different policy scenarios:

  • Current policy scenario: This assumes that general practice workforce supply increases in line with historical growth rates and accounting for the NHS Long Term Plan commitments up to 2023/24, primary care networks (PCN) and the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS).
  • Optimistic scenario: This assumes sustained additional policy action leading to more rapid growth in workforce supply relative to the current policy scenario and further policy intervention being able to ‘lock in’ and fully realise the benefits of current policy.
  • Pessimistic scenario: This highlights key risks to future increases in general practice workforce supply, some of which are likely to have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information, read the full projections report

Note: The first version of this interactive chart published on 30 June 2022 contained an error affecting the GP projections. This has now been corrected, and an updated version was published on 5 August 2022.

Further reading

Analysis

Projections: General practice workforce in England

June 2022
Analysis

We summarise key findings of our analysis on workforce supply and demand in general practice in...

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