The government has promised to grow the GP workforce by 6,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) GPs by 2024, but admitted earlier this year that it was not on track to deliver this increase. Official data show the FTE GP workforce is currently down by nearly 1,500 compared with five years ago.
The shortfall in GP numbers has left doctors in some parts of England responsible for significantly more patients than their counterparts elsewhere. Explore the map and charts below to find out more about how gaps in the workforce are affecting different parts of the country.
Areas with the highest numbers of patients per full-time equivalent GP show up as darker red in the map. Further variation in the ratio of patients to GPs exists within each CCG area, however - scroll in to see how the workforce looks at the level of PCNs within each CCG. Click on CCG areas or on individual PCNs to see a pop-up box about that area and find out how it compares with others.
Underdoctored areas map: how does your CCG and PCN compare?
Scroll or zoom in for more detail and to find PCNs within each CCG area
Variation across the country and between NHS organisations in numbers of patients per FTE GP is significant, with a near two-fold difference between CCGs with the highest and lowest rates, and greater variation still at the level of primary care networks.
GPonline analysis of the workforce data comes less than a year after chief medical officer Professor Sir Chris Whitty called for an urgent assessment of whether chronic GP shortages in some of England's most deprived areas were driven by flawed funding arrangements for general practice. Professor Whitty highlighted concerns in coastal areas in particular - a factor reflected in GPonline's maps above, which show concentrations of underdoctored PCNs around some coastal areas.
Underdoctored areas are clustered together around parts of Lancashire, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, and in south-east England in Kent and Essex - as well as in other parts of the country. But even within wider CCG areas that appear well-resourced in terms of overall GP numbers, in some cases individual PCNs are struggling, the data show, reflecting the fragility of general practice across the country.
Use the table below to see which CCGs in England have the highest and lowest numbers of patients per FTE GP - and to rank the areas by total numbers of patients and total numbers of GPs.
Note: figures used in the maps and charts are for fully-qualified FTE GPs only and do not include trainees.