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Information about General Practice

Following recent media coverage we thought patients might be interested in the following facts:

  • There are approximately 36,000 GPs in the UK – it takes 6 years to train as a doctor and then a further 3 years to train to become a GP
  • Each patient, on average, sees their GP 4 times per year – this means there are over 250 million GP / patient consultations per year
  • 15% of the entire population sees a GP in a two week period
  • The average practice in the UK has about 6,000 registered patients and 3-4 GPs.  The average full-time GP looks after 1,700 – 1,800 patients
  • The average face to face contact with a GP costs £20, compared to £24 in a Walk-in Centre, £27 for a telephone contact with NHS Direct, £75 for an attendance at an Accident & Emergency Department and between £100 and £300 for each attendance at a hospital Outpatient Department
  • GPs are paid LESS than 20p per patient per day for their practices to provide all the day-to-day care that is required – less than the cost of a daily newspaper
  • GPs refer about 10% of their patients to hospital specialities which means that nearly 90% of all health needs of the British population is managed entirely in general practice
  • In a recent Government survey it was found that patients were more satisfied with their GPs than they were with the hospital service.  General Practice in the NHS was the most popular of all public services
  • In a recent White Paper the Government stated that “by international standards general practice in England is efficient and of high quality.  Indeed many countries view with envy our system of list-based general practice”
  • GPs are now paid differently in that nearly 50% of their income is via quality performance-related pay.  This performance-related pay is based on achievements made in the Quality and Outcome Framework (QOF) which consists of over 100 targets of which 76 cover 10 important disease areas, measuring performance against proven standards.  This has contributed to the largest and most admired clinical database in the world