New report aims to make General Practice Nursing a top career destination

Improving training available in GP practice settings and raising the profile of the role  is key to helping to retain and expand the General Practice Nursing (GPN) workforce | Health Education England.


Image source: HEE

Key report recommendations include:

  • improving training capacity for the general practice nurse workforce by providing access to accredited training to equip them for each level of their role;
  • raising the profile of general practice nursing, to increase the uptake of the role as a first-destination career;
  • developing GPN educator roles to cover all CCG areas, including the promotion of mentor training for all GPNs  to retain the knowledge and expertise of existing GPNs; and
  • the development of a sustainable and easily accessible ‘how-to’ toolkit and web based resource to support the implementation of general practice nursing workforce initiatives.
  • a nationwide standardised general practice nursing ‘return to practice’ education programme which includes a general practice placement, mentorship and appropriate support to meet the NMC requirements for ‘return to practice’.

Read the full report here

One third of GP vacancies remain unfilled

Nearly a third of GP partners in England have been unable to fill staff vacancies during the past 12 months | BMA


Thirty-one per cent of partners responding to the association’s GP survey admitted they had had to put up with vacancies, having not been able to recruit over the year-long period.

The survey also found that one in five partners reported their practice taking between three to six months to appoint staff to a vacant posts, while only one in eight said they had had no gaps to fill.

Areas with the highest levels of unfilled vacancies include the west midlands and east of England, each at 35 per cent reporting, and the east midlands at 34 per cent.

Read the full news story here

Physiotherapists in General Practice

BMA backs greater use of physiotherapy


Image source: CSP

New guidance supporting greater patient access to physiotherapists in primary care may help to alleviate pressures faced by GPs, the BMA has said. The guidance document, Physiotherapists in General Practice, published by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, outlines how physios can be better used to support general practice. It is accompanied by an online calculator designed to help estimate costs for a surgery considering whether to include physios within their teams.

GPC policy lead for education, training and workforce Krishna Kasaraneni, who provided one of the forewords to the guidance report, welcomed the plans. He added that initiatives designed to diversify and widen expertise within general practice had the potential to reduce workload pressures as well as improve access to specialist musculoskeletal services for patients.


It is believed that between 20 to 30 per cent of consultations within GP surgeries relate to musculoskeletal complaints, with physiotherapists able to assess, diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions autonomously.

Read the overview and find the cost calculator here

Read the full report here

General Practitioner Recruitment And Retention: An Evidence Synthesis

Policy Research Unit in Commissioning and the Healthcare System | Published online: 4 November 2016

10774-2This report presents an evidence synthesis on GP recruitment, retention and re-employment. It finds that overall the published evidence focuses primarily on attracting GPs to rural areas however the literature does provide some useful insights to factors that may support the development of specific strategies for the recruitment and retention of GPs. The report suggests that medical students should be exposed to successful GP role models and general practice and that supporting intrinsic motivational factors and career determinants can influence recruitment.

Read the full report here

HEE to receive £20m for GP training places

Thomas, R. HSJ. Published online: 18 October 2016


The money will also go towards developing multidisciplinary teams involving nurses, pharmacists and other staff in GP surgeries. NHS England pledged £206m to implement workforce measures from the General Practice Forward View earlier this year.

HSJ has learned £20m from the total pledged by NHS England will be used by HEE to train new GPs and meet its target to have 3,250 doctors choosing to train in general practice each year. HEE said the funding, which has been allocated for 2016-17, will be used to cover “additional GP expenditure such as salaries and placement of fees for practice as there are now more GP trainees in the system than in previous years”.

Read the full article here

Patient safety in general practice could be ‘at risk’ – unless chronic shortage of GPs is turned around, with nearly 600 practices at risk of closure

RCGP | Published online: 18 September 2016

Patient safety in general practice across the UK could be ‘at risk’, if nothing is done to turn around the current chronic shortage of GPs, according to the Royal College of General Practitioners – with 594 practices across the UK at risk of closure by 2020 if more family doctors are not recruited.

In response, the RCGP is launching a ground-breaking new video and guide – which aim to help recruit thousands of additional foundation doctors, medical students and sixth form students into a career in general practice.

The RCGP says that as the population grows in size, and increases in age, there is a growing shortfall in the number of GPs – and estimates the total shortfall of GPs will stand at 9,940 by 2020.

The College says that unless drastic action is taken to ensure there are enough doctors in the workforce, thousands of patients could be forced to travel miles to their nearest GP practice or be left stranded with no family doctor at all.

Their launch comes against the backdrop of a health service that is faced with a population that is getting older and growing in size – with a resultant increase in the number of people suffering from chronic, long-term conditions and multiple-illnesses.

GPs and their teams now carry out around 1.3m consultations a day. Yet despite research stipulating that workload has increased by 16% over the last seven years, the College estimates that the number of full time equivalent GPs across the UK has actually fallen to 35,589 from 35,990 in 2013/14.

The RCGP believes that each nation of the UK will have a substantial shortfall in the number of its full time equivalent GPs by 2020, predicting that:

  • England will have a deficit of 8,371 GPs
  • Scotland will have a deficit of 830 GPs
  • Wales will have a deficit of 424 GPs, and
  • Northern Ireland will have a deficit of 316 GPs.

View the full resources list here