The BBC has revealed that the past four years have seen a continual decrease in the number of GPs since 2014. The impact of this is an increase in the number of patients each GP is expected to handle. According to the BBC, the average doctor now has 125 more patients than in 2014.

The consequence of this worrying situation is an increasing difficulty in obtaining an appointment with a GP, increasing waiting times and increasing pressure on those GPs who continue to work within the service.

Following a government initiative, the number of GPs in training has increased, but the number taking early retirement is also increasing. Consequently, there are currently 1,500 fewer GPs working than there were four years ago. It is estimated that an additional 3,500 GPs would be necessary to return the doctor to patient ratio to the same levels as in 2014.

At a time of increasing patient age and complexity, the reduction in the GP to patient ratio is of concern.

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