GP workforce growing six times slower than other specialists

The number of specialist doctors in the UK has increased 5.5 times as fast as the number of GPs since 2010, figures from the GMC register reveal.

Specialists on the GMC register swelled in rank by almost a quarter (22%) from 2010 to 2014, compared to an increase in GPs of just 4%, the GMC’s annual state of medical education and practice (SOMEP) report shows.

This means that doctors on the specialist register have increased at a rate proportionally 5.5 times larger than GPs, highlighting slow general practice recruitment.

GMC data show that doctors only on the specialist register increased by 14,828 to 81,386 – while doctors only on the GP register increased by just 5,232 to 63,679.

Altogether, the number of registered doctors has increased by 12% since 2010.

GMC complaints

There are three times as many doctors in training to be specialists (32,672) than GP trainees (10,795). The GMC said that because specialty training takes longer a greater number of doctors in specialty training would be expected even if the annual outturn was the same.

The report also reveals that complaints to the GMC stand 54% higher than they did in 2010, although 2014 saw a drop of 2.3% compared to the year before.

Of the 2,750 complaints investigated in 2014, more than half (1,428) were closed without further action.

Dr Rob Hendry, medical director at Medical Protection said: ‘While it is appropriate that the GMC investigates and sanctions unacceptable conduct, the high proportion of investigations that are closed with no further action indicates that more emphasis needs to be on effective triaging of complaints, and the current threshold for opening an investigation may be too low.

‘We would urge the GMC to encourage and promote greater use of local resolution in the first instance. In addition, it is important for practices and trusts to offer a robust and effective complaints service which can command the trust and confidence of their patients, and help to reach a resolution for all parties quickly.’

Photo: iStock

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Vaccination tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK have led the largest-ever NHS vaccination programme in response...

RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall

Hand PCNs control of primary care infrastructure funding, says RCGP

CCG funding for primary care infrastructure should be handed to PCNs when the bodies...

Professor Martin Marshall and Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall

Talking General Practice speaks to RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul

In-house review not enough to stop 'unjust' GMC referrals, warns BMA

Doctors' leaders have repeated calls for a full independent review of the GMC referral...


How widespread is long COVID in the UK?

Millions of people in the UK are living with long COVID. GPonline looks at the data...

COVID-19 vaccination sign

GP contract for autumn COVID-19 booster campaign due shortly

GP practices in England will be invited shortly to sign up for the COVID-19 autumn...