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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Daniel Keane

GP numbers fall in London despite Tory promise to expand workforce

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The number of full-time GPs in London has fallen in a year despite a Conservative pledge to increase the number of family doctors, new figures revealed on Friday.

Analysis by the Standard found that 4,106 GPs were working in the health service in the capital as of April 2024, a fall of 40 on the figure reported the previous year.

The figures suggest that the workload for GPs is growing as staffing levels decline, putting more pressure on surgeries and leading to longer waits for care.

The GP statistics are based on the number of full-time equivalent posts in the workforce and do not include trainees or locums.

In November 2019, the Conservatives committed to delivering 6,000 more doctors in general practice in England by 2024-25 to increase patient appointments.

However, the latest figures show that there are only 2,464 extra GPs now compared with December 2019, including trainees and locums.

Separate NHS figures show that more than 5 million patients a month in England are waiting longer than a fortnight for a GP appointment.

The figures come as the Liberal Democrats were on Friday set to announce a five-year plan to give patients a legal right to see a GP within a week or 24 hours if in urgent need.

The party say this would be delivered by recruiting 8,000 more GPs by the end of the next Parliament.

Sir Ed claimed the Conservative Party had “brought the NHS to its knees” during its time in Government, and had “decimated local health services”.

The Lib Dem leader added: “Patients are bearing the brunt of this failure with millions forced to wait in pain for weeks just to get a GP appointment.

“It is an unacceptable situation and one that is only getting worse after years of Conservative chaos and neglect.”

But health minister Dame Andrea Leadsom claimed the Lib Dems had promised “unfunded spending commitment with no plan to pay for it meaning higher taxes on hard-working families”.

She added: “This is not surprising from a party that would prop up the Labour Party, who would increase families taxes by £2,094, taking us back to square one.

“Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives are delivering 6.5 million more GP appointments each month than in 2019, thanks to our brilliant GPs, achieving our manifesto pledge and cutting waiting lists.”

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