General Practitioners

Health written question – answered on 4th February 2004.

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Photo of Mike Hancock Mike Hancock Liberal Democrat, Portsmouth South

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to recruit general practitioners; what the current national ratio of patients to general practitioners is; what the ratio is in the Portsmouth area; and how many general practitioner vacancies there are in (a) Portsmouth and (b) South East Hampshire.

Photo of John Hutton John Hutton Minister of State, Department of Health, Minister of State (Department of Health) (Health)

The Government are committed to recruiting and retaining more general practitioners (GPs). A range of measures have been implemented including financial incentives, extended options for flexible working and improved family friendly policies.

The ratio of patients to unrestricted principals and equivalent (UPE) general practitioners (GPs) in England and in Portsmouth Primary Care Trust is shown in table 1.

The number of GP vacancies recorded in the GP recruitment and retention vacancy survey between 1 April 2O02 and 31 March 2003 in Portsmouth PCT and East Hampshire PCT and Fareham and Gosport PCT is shown in table 2.

This is a count of all GP vacancies that have occurred during each year. It will include existing posts that doctors have left and also new posts created to increase the work force, even where they were filled very quickly. Thus, the number of vacancies in part is a result of there being more posts overall, reflecting the Governments plan to increase the GP work force.

The Department of Health collects figures by PCT only, not by constituency.

Table 1: Patients of unrestricted principals and equivalents (UPEs)(19) for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Strategic Health Authority—England, as at 30September 2002 -- Number (headcount)
England Portsmouth City PCT
All practitioners(20) 32,292 105
of which:
UPEs 28,031 101
Patients of UPEs 51,522,391 181,805
Ratio UPEs to patients 1:1,838 1:1,800

(19) UPEs include GMS unrestricted principals, PMS contracted GPs and PMS salaried GPs.

(20) All practitioners include GMS unrestricted principals, PMS contracted GPs, PMS salaried GPs, restricted principals, assistants, GP registrars, salaried doctors (para. 52 SPA), PMS other and GP retainers.


Department of Health General and Personal Medical Services Statistics.

Table 2: Reported GP vacancies in England and Hampshire and Isle of Wight SHA and PCTs, 2003
Headcount (number)
England total (21)3,245
East Hampshire PCT 18
Fareham and Gosport PCT 10
Portsmouth City PCT 10

(21) One PCT (Sutton and Merton PCT, South West London SHA) did not respond to the survey.


No figures for PCTs are available before 2003 as previous years vacancy numbers were collected from health authorities.


Department of Health GP Recruitment, Retention and Vacancy survey 2003.

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